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Florida Panthers Donate $20,000 to Hurricane Relief Efforts

by Staff Writer / Florida Panthers

Florida's Home Preseason Games Will Allow Opportunity for Fans to Help Relief Effort

SUNRISE, FL - The Florida Panthers Foundation and Sunrise Sports & Entertainment announced that they will donate $20,000 to the American Red Cross Hurricane Relief Fund in support of the victims of Hurricane Katrina. The Panthers Foundation will also facilitate donations from fans and employees during the team's upcoming home preseason games - Sept. 29 vs. Carolina and Oct. 2 vs. Tampa Bay - to further support the relief effort.

The Girl Scouts of Broward County will hold a collection/drive for the children displaced by the Hurricane. Scouts, leaders, volunteers and their families are being asked to donate backpacks and school supplies to ship to the children. They'll be writing personal notes of encouragement to be placed inside the backpacks so that each child will be aware that someone is thinking of them. The Girl Scouts will team with Panthers players' wives and girlfriends and SSE employees to collect supplies and food at the two-preseason games. Fans may donate cash or supplies in exchange for a $10-off discount voucher for either preseason home game, redeemable at the BankAtlantic Center box office. Hearts with Hands, Inc. will have trucks ready at the BankAtlantic Center to transport the materials to affected areas.

Additionally, in conjunction with the United Way, the Panthers and SSE will invite up to 300 hurricane survivors from the makeshift shelter at Palm Beach Meadows Thoroughbred Training Facility in Boynton Beach to attend the game on Sept. 29 vs. Carolina.

Trucks from the Community Blood Centers of South Florida will be on-site as well.

The Panthers held a silent auction last night at their Season Seat Holder Welcome Back Party at the BankAtlantic Center with all proceeds going to the American Red Cross Hurricane Relief fund. The auction will be made possible by the donations of the Panthers, Florida Marlins, Miami Dolphins, Miami Heat and Florida Pit Bulls. One of the top items auctioned was a lunch for six with Cats center Nathan Horton at Pizza Time in Coral Springs. That item raised $550.

And for the hard-core sports fan looking to win the vehicle of his or her dreams while also supporting victims of Hurricane Katrina, the Panthers and Dolphins have teamed with Southeast Toyota Distributors, LLC (SET) to launch "Raffle 4 Relief."

With a $10 donation to the American Red Cross Hurricane Relief Fund, sports fans receive a raffle ticket for two chances to win one of two 2006 Toyota Tundra Double Cab Trucks, each valued at nearly $32,000. Designed for the true sports fan, the Tundras feature vibrant team graphics and hoods autographed by players, one from the Miami Dolphins and the other from the Florida Panthers. The raffle is open to Florida residents only, with donations to be collected at select Dolphins and Panthers home games.

SSE also plans to match 100-percent of any donations made by its employees. Employee participation began last Friday with members raising more than $1,000 in exchange for a "Jeans on Fridays" dress code. That program will continue for several weeks.

"These efforts reflect our deep concern for the well-being of our neighbors in the Gulf Coast," SSE Chief Operating Officer Michael Yormark said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the people affected by the storm. We'll continue to work hard on their behalf to collect donations and raise money in order to help in the recovery efforts."

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