TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Dozens of Tampa Bay area children and their families got a huge surprise Monday night.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers took 50 children and their families on a $400 shopping spree to Target, and showered them with other gifts, including a $250 gift card to Publix and a donation from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Foundation to cover TECO utility bills in 2022.
The team also teamed up with Metropolitan Ministries to provide a holiday meal.
“It’s much more than just the food and toys, there’s this feeling that I’m not forgotten, people care for me,” Metropolitan Ministries President Tim Marks said. “These families don’t take them for granted, they’re going to be blessed by the Bucs and we’re grateful to be a part of that.”
Emma Miller was extremely grateful. She says she wasn’t able to do what she normally could this year for her three sons, so the surprise from the Bucs was a blessing in disguise.
“I just kept crying, had no idea, I was not expecting that,” Miller said. “I don’t even have a word to say how much I am, I couldn’t have expected this to happen and for them to do this and show the world they’re more than about winning games, they’re here for their fans in a time of need.”
Monday’s event is possible through more than $50,000 in donations from the team, including contributions from each member of the Buccaneers’ offensive line, offensive line coaches and a matching grant from the Buccaneers Foundation Social Justice Fund.
The Social Justice Fund, established in 2018 by the Glazer family, matches player donations to the Tampa Bay community that help break down barriers to racial and social equality.