TAMPA BAY - The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Tony March as the 40th Lightning Community Hero this season during the first period of tonight's game versus the Nashville Predators. March, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the funds to Metropolitan Ministries and Abe Brown Ministries.
For the past nine years, Tony has spent 20-25 hours each week at Metropolitan Ministries preparing, cooking and serving meals to people who are hungry. He gives a voice to the many low-income and homeless families in our community, telling their stories by sharing his own. March used to be homeless, so he knows what it's like to be hungry. Tony destigmatizes homelessness and calls attention to the needs within the community. He takes every opportunity to encourage people to give back so that other children do not have to endure what he did.
The meals that Tony assists with are distributed throughout four counties in the Tampa Bay region. He is an essential component to a kitchen that produces over 2,500 meals on a daily basis and has prepared millions of meals throughout his volunteer tenure. He also prepares food to be picked up and served at churches and other nonprofits. When March is not volunteering, he plays poker professionally and donates his winnings to nonprofits and works to call attention to the plight of homelessness by speaking in the community.
Tony March becomes the 311th Lightning Community Hero since Jeff and Penny Vinik introduced the Lightning Community Hero program in 2011-12 with a $10 million, five-season commitment to the Tampa Bay community. Through this evening's game, in total, the Lightning Foundation has granted $15.65 million to more than 400 different nonprofits in the Greater Tampa Bay area. During the summer of 2016, the Vinik's announced that the community hero program will give away another $10-million over the next five seasons.