Lightning, Rays donate to help those hit hardest by COVID-19 job losses

In normal times, Tampa Bay Lighting advertisements would be telling fans to Be The Thunder, but these aren’t normal times.

“It’s a time when people are in need,” said Lightning owner Jeff Vinik. “Whether it’s food, whether they lost their job, they have a small business, they’re struggling.”

Vinik and the Bolts are launching a major advertising campaign across billboards, newspapers, TV, and radio, directing people who are impacted by the economic downturn, brought on by COVID-19, where they can get help.

“Go to or You can get help and there’s no shame in getting help in these times,” Vinik said in a Skype interview Monday.

The Vinik Family Foundation donated $300,000 to Metropolitan Ministries. The Rays are donating $250,000 to Feeding Tampa Bay. Vinik called on others to donate if they’re able.

“If you can give something or order take out from a restaurant or buy a gift certificate from a restaurant or help your neighbor out while practicing social distancing, these are all practical things that anybody can do in this community,” said Vinik.

He said he doesn’t expect the downturn to cause major delays for his Water Street development in downtown Tampa.

“I do not believe that this temporary air pocket in the economy will change the long term outlook for Tampa Bay,” he said.

If you feel sick:

The Florida Department of Health has opened a COVID-19 Call Center at 1-866-779-6121. Agents will answer questions around the clock. Questions may also be emailed to Email responses will be sent during call center hours.

LINK: Florida's COVID-19 website

CORONAVIRUS IN FLORIDA: What you need to know


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