TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Former Rays Manager Joe Maddon is back in the Tampa Bay area but it has nothing to do with baseball and everything to do with giving back.
With a serving tray in hand and friendly smile, Maddon served spaghetti and meatballs with sausage at Tampa’s Salvation Army Center. It’s part of a program he started in 2006.
“The point was to serve food, serve a meal on any day between Thanksgiving and Christmas, called ‘Thanksmas,'” he explained.
It’s a project near and dear to his heart because he truly sees the need to help.
“So, I think too many times the public’s opinion is skewed a little bit. They don’t really understand what’s going on here. Easily denigrate the group that is here. There’s a lot of derogatory comments and it’s not true, you have to come out and see it for yourself to understand it,” Maddon told News Channel 8.
Maddon understand the situation people like Tammy are in. Despite having a good education, Tammy is currently jobless and homeless.
“What job would you like to do if you could do something?” we asked her.
“To help others and get paid for it. Yes, which I have graduated four times,” she said.
“I am a phlebotomist. I have worked in the medical field, but mentally I’ve been through a little something but yes.”
For Tammy, Monday’s Thanksmas event was a true blessing.
With tears in her eyes she said, “Oh, my gosh! It means everything. I feel so grateful that God has stepped in and done a lot for me today. It seems like it’s not much to some people but it means so much to a lot.”
Alongside Maddon serving meals were the members of Steinbrenner High School’s baseball team.
As Thanksmas events continue this week, three other baseball teams will do the same. Northeast High School, Northside Christian and Tampa Jesuit will all be volunteering and serving meals.
The Tampa Bay area Thanksmas schedule:
Monday, November 13, 4:30 p.m.
Tampa Salvation Army
1603 N. Florida Ave. Tampa, FL 33602
Steinbrenner High School baseball team will volunteer
Tuesday, November 14, 5:30 p.m.
5726 126th Ave N, Clearwater, FL 33760
Northeast High School baseball team will volunteer
Wednesday, November 154:30 p.m.
St. Petersburg Salvation Army
340 14th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Northside Christian baseball team will volunteer
Thursday, November 16, 11:30 a.m.
2801 N. Nebraska Ave., Tampa, FL 33602.
Tampa Jesuit baseball team will volunteer