The Miami HEAT hosted their 23rd Annual HEAT Thanksgiving Celebration on Monday, November 24th at the Miami Rescue Mission (MRM). HEAT players, along with HEAT coaches and HEAT front office employees joined presenting sponsor Florida Blue as well as supporting sponsors Goya, The A Group, Pepsi and Sun Sports to usher in the Thanksgiving holiday with the residents of the Greater Miami area.
All residents of the area were invited to enjoy the block-party carnival, but the event was especially meaningful for a select group of approximately 600 underprivileged families, the majority of which were pre-selected by different government and community-based organizations and agencies. Those families received a complete Thanksgiving meal with the entire trimming from the Miami HEAT, courtesy of Florida Blue. Frozen turkeys were provided by The A Group, while canned goods, side items and beverages were donated by Goya, Bimbo Breads, Sara Lee Breads and Pepsi. Levy Cares, the charitable foundation of Levy Restaurants and the catering division of the AmericanAirlines Arena, provided 450 hot meals to the residents of the MRM.
The reach of this year’s celebration extended well beyond the Overtown/Wynwood area to help touch those in need in communities such as Little Havana, Little Haiti, Liberty City, Homestead and as far north as Ft. Lauderdale. Other beneficiaries of the event include: SafeSpace domestic violence shelter, Salvation Army, Amigos for Kids and Veterans Supported Services.
The HEAT Dancers, Burnie the HEAT mascot, DJ M Dot and the Xtreme Team entertained families with special performances throughout the afternoon. Guests were treated to games, activities, and inflatables. In addition, a HEAT Nation Flag was raised in front of the Miami Rescue Mission Community Activity Center and a HEAT Nation Mural was painted inside the gymnasium of the Miami Rescue Mission Community Activity Center.
“You know this is our community, I’ve been here for 12 years. This is a Wade community and it’s our job to make sure we get in the community and continue to give back,” said Dwyane Wade.
“It’s always a joy to come out and show people that we care. Saying ‘hello, happy Thanksgiving, God bless.’ Little things go a long way,” said Chris Bosh.
“Overtown is part of the Heat, and the Heat is part of Overtown. That’s the way it’s been and we’re so proud to be part of it. It’s a really fun day, said Pat Riley.
Caroline Jones, singer and songwriter, performed along with best-selling author, educator, and entrepreneur, Stedman Graham, who was in attendance to speak to the residents of the Miami Rescue Mission.
Members of the Armed Forces were on-hand to provide assistance, along with HEAT staffers who worked concessions and activity stations, including interacting with children from the HEAT Academy at Jesse J. McCrary Jr. Elementary during the festivities.