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Lightning C.H.A.R.G.E. into action at Pinellas Hope

by Michelle Holden / Tampa Bay Lightning

The Tampa Bay Lightning, Majestic Athletic and USF Sports and Entertainment Management Students participated in a day of service last Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Pinellas Hope, a homeless shelter located in Pinellas County who was a beneficiary of the Lightning’s Community Hero Program. It is the second consecutive year the team, Majestic and the students have teamed up to volunteer at the shelter.

Approximately 150 volunteers from three entities contributed their time to duties that included mulching, painting, loading and unloading supplies and preparing tents.

Pinellas Hope Facilities Manager, Angelina Mosley, described the excitement around the volunteer participation as “just a fantastic opportunity get a lot of things done at the program that we aren’t able to do. We usually take little baby steps but we take giants leaps when we get this many people”.

Pinellas Hope, which covers 22 acres of land, was landscaped, repainted, and re-mulched as volunteers from across Tampa Bay offered their time to a worthy cause.

TBSE employees, USF Sports & Entertainment Management MBA students and staff, Majestic employees, Little Caesar's and Coca-Cola C.H.A.R.G.E. Pinellas Hope for their largest service day ever with 150 volunteers combined.

Dr. Bill Sutton, founding director of USF’s Sport and Entertainment MBA Program, praised Lightning owner Jeff Vinik as a model for community initiative, crediting him with creating a standard for giving back.

“Students, and anybody working in sports needs to understand that we need to give back to the communities. If we are taking money out we need to invest back in,” Dr. Sutton said.

Jim Pasani, President of Majestic Athletics wasn’t shy about getting his hands dirty during the outing. He added that “it’s not just a financial commitment, its giving of time and talent. We truly believe in it and it gets the whole organization behind it”.

The Lightning’s C.H.A.R.G.E. program surpassed their target goal last season by more than 1,000 hours. Through partnerships and opportunities to give back to the community, such as Pinellas Hope, the Lightning are committed to leading by example and inspiring others to give, hoping to once again surpass their goal for the 2013-14 season.

“We certainly walked away with a smile on our face knowing that we did something good and it’s a small token of what we need to do,” Pasani said about the day. His words echoed the sentiment that the volunteers felt after giving back last week.

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