Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon's Thanksmas for local shelters is expanding into a Thanksmas Day of Volunteering on July 11 in response to the many requests from fans to get involved in Maddon's pet charity.
Anyone who volunteers for general duty at one of the local shelters participating in the Thanksmas Day of Volunteering will receive a ticket to the Rays-Red Sox game on July 27, a Thanksmas T-shirt and the opportunity to be included in a group photo with Maddon. Participating shelters are the Homeless Emergency Project in Clearwater and the Salvation Army Chapters of St. Petersburg, Tampa and Bradenton. Volunteers must register with a shelter by July 8 at raysbaseball.com/thanksmas.
"Our goal is to expand Thanksmas in some fashion every year," said Maddon in a statement. He said there were so many people asking him how to get involved that the day of volunteering was added that "allows for greater participation and also brings attention to the homeless issue at a time of the year when it is not top of mind."
Maddon will participate in the volunteer day by serving lunch at the Trinity Cafe, 2801 N Nebraska Ave. in Tampa, which prepares more than 260 hot meals each day for the homeless and working poor. The meals are prepared by a professional chef and served by volunteer servers. The guests sit at cloth covered tables set with china dishes and silverware.
On July 11, chef Alfred Astl of Trinity Cafe will prepare Maddon's Thanksmas feast of meatballs and pierogies.
For the past eight Decembers, Maddon has hosted Thanksmas, a weeklong event in which he purchases, prepares and serves a traditional Italian and Polish holiday feast for various local shelters.