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$5M and counting: The sports world lends a hand in wake of Hurricane Ian

The Buccaneers and Lightning were relocated this week. Both organizations have already donated $3 million to disaster relief funds in Florida.

TAMPA, Fla. — So many of our lives have been altered this week, and if we're lucky enough, that's all that happened. 

Just a minor inconvenience. 

Sadly, there are our friends a couple of hours south of Tampa who don't have that luxury. Fort Myers, Naples, Port Charlotte and surrounding cities will be in recovery mode for a while, and it's up to many of us in the community to help these areas thrive once again.

The sports world has already jumped into the picture doing what it can to help in the form of the necessary money.

On Thursday, the Glazer family, owners of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, announced that they will donate $1 million to assist in relief efforts following Hurricane Ian. The donation will be allocated to organizations that are providing support to those who have been most impacted by the storm in southwest Florida and throughout the state.

Buccaneers Co-Owner Darcie Glazer Kassewitz said, “It will take entire communities resiliently working together for an extended period and our family is committed to aiding in the recovery."

Tom Brady is also doing his part by sending his Twitter and Instagram followers to the Florida Disaster Fund while donating an unspecified amount.

The NFL Foundation joined in these efforts matching the contribution from the Glazer family with another $1 million to Hurricane Ian relief efforts.

In tandem with the Bucs, the NFL Foundation will work to identify and provide funding for nonprofit organizations that will address the immediate needs of those impacted throughout Florida.

Following Sunday night's Kansas City Chiefs vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers game inside Raymond James Stadium, the NFL will also be auctioning off a limited number of game-worn jerseys and other unique items which fans can bid on at NFL.com/auction to support the American Red Cross' Hurricane Ian relief efforts (www.redcross.org/nfl). NFL Auction also has several items already listed to bid on to raise funds for hurricane disaster relief.

There will also be a line of Florida Strong t-shirts for the Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers available on NFL Shop. The NFL doesn't retain any profits from the sale of Florida Strong products. The NFL Foundation will grant funds raised from the sale of these products to the American Red Cross to support Hurricane Ian relief efforts.

Credit: AP
Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik, second from left, acknowledges fans with the Stanley Cup during the NHL hockey Stanley Cup champions' Boat Parade, Monday, July 12, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Ever since Jeff Vinik took over the Tampa Bay Lightning organization, charitable contributions to the communities have been an unflappable pillar. The Tampa Bay Lightning Foundation and the Vinik Family Foundation announced they are donating $1 million each, for a combined total of $2 million, toward Hurricane Ian relief efforts and those negatively impacted by the storm.

“This is a tragic situation for many families and communities across the state of Florida, but especially so in the southwest region of the state,” said Lightning Owner and Chairman Jeff Vinik. “In times like these the most important thing we can do is support one another, and we hope this donation will help families recover and rebuild in the months to come.”

The Lightning and the Vinik Family Foundation will continue to form key partnerships and identify opportunities to support those in need following this tragic event. The Lightning and the Vinik Family Foundation encourage everyone to support as they can and those looking to make financial contributions through the Lightning Foundation can do so by visiting www.TampaBayLightning.com/Donate.

While the Rays are squaring off against the Astros, the city of Houston knows this pain all too well. They are looking to chip in by donating proceeds from their 50-50 raffle of these next three games against Tampa Bay to Hurricane Ian relief efforts for Florida, Puerto Rico and Cuba.

And while the Tampa Bay area does not have an NBA team, the Orlando Magic are doing their part by donating $1 million.

In this article alone, we're talking about $5 million-plus dollars -- and many more will pour in from different avenues in life. 

The end is not in sight, but we have to start somewhere.

This is a good start.

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