To celebrate National Tourism Week, our hospitality partner, Visit Tampa Bay, hosted an event called Tourism Gives Back. On Thursday, June 15th our hospitality partners banded together to support a local charity – the charity of choice was Feeding Tampa Bay. With 1 in 7 adults and 1 in 4 children going hungry everyday, our partners used Tourism Gives Back to raise awareness about the issue of hunger in Tampa Bay.
The event included a CANstruction, a bag packing competition, and a fund drive. Twenty teams competed in the CANstruction competition, which included building structures out of cans in 30 minutes or less. Teams built everything from logos to champagne bottles to ships! The Hilton Downtown Tampa received the Most Creative Structure award for its pirate ship, and the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel and Marina received the Best Overall Team award for its Feeding Tampa Bay wall.
Following the CANstruction was a bag packing competition for Feeding Tampa Bay’s Backpack Program. The Backpack Program supports the children at local schools that receive free or reduced lunches, by providing them meals for after school, weekends, and school breaks. Twenty-six teams competed to see who could pack roughly 200 bags the quickest. The Epicurean came in first place, followed by the Holiday Inn in second place, and Hooters Channelside in third. In total, 5,600 bags were packed at the event, providing 28,000 meals to children in need.
This fun and unique event not only created friendly rivalry amongst our local hospitality partners, but also allowed them to show their creativity while giving back. The remaining funds from the food drive totaled $1,185, of which the Hilton Downtown Tampa raised $1,035.
5,600 bags packed = 28,000 meals
$1,185 = 11,850 meals
9,262 pounds of food = 7,718 meals
Overall, Tourism Gives Back provided 47,568 meals to the Tampa Bay community. Coming together to fight hunger raised awareness about the struggles with food insecurity in Tampa Bay and helped distribute meals to the 700,000 people in need.
Thank you to all of the teams that participated: Marriott Waterside, Holiday Inn Tampa Westshore, McKibbon Hospitality Group, Epicurean, Hooter’s, Tampa International Airport, AAA, Yacht Starship, Lowry Park Zoo, The Florida Aquarium, Busch Gardens, Mainsail Hotels, Tampa Convention Center, Bay Harbour Hotel, ABC Action News, Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Grand Hyatt, TECO Energy, Hilton Downtown Tampa, Madden Media/FKQ, Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, Event Show Productions