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‘Give Miami Day' Takes on New Meaning in COVID Pandemic

Since its beginning in 2012, the event has been a yearly fundraiser for non-profit groups that has been amplified with the pandemic taking over South Florida since March

NBC Universal, Inc.

The annual Give Miami Day is a yearly campaign that represents nearly 900 local organizations with the goal of getting as many people to donate to charity on the same day - a goal more important than ever during the COVID pandemic.

Since its beginning in 2012, the event has been a yearly fundraiser for non-profit groups that has been amplified with the pandemic taking over South Florida since March.

“We’re running into a situation at the end of the calendar year because the CARES Act is expiring,” said Feeding South Florida CEO Paco Velez, whose group has been one of the main participants. “We’re probably going to see a decrease in at least 50 percent of food coming into South Florida.”

Velez says his group was distributing 160 tractor-trailers worth of food per week this past summer. That number dropped to 14 weekly trucks.

“It has been beyond a challenge as it has been for everyone else in the city,” said Centro Mater director Madelyn Llanes. “From one day to the next, we were told we had to close the center. What do we do with the families?”

Llanes says in spite of the difficult circumstances, Centro Mater trudges through to help needy families - many of whom recently arrived in the United States and do not qualify for stimulus money or any other government assistance.

“We can’t serve the kids because of the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), but we can serve the families,” she said. “We wanted to have a presence in their lives, regardless of the pandemic.”

Matthew Beatty is a leader at the Miami Foundation, the group that coordinates the massive one-day, online fundraiser.

“There’s power in the collective and I think that is what we have learned during the pandemic,” Beatty said. “We are more resilient when we stand together.”

To take part in Give Miami Day, click on this link.

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