Written by Luis Sung at 3:15 PM EST | Twitter: @FLSportDebater
On the second day of Web Weekend, the Miami Dolphins special teams teamed up with 4Kids of South Florida and Hope South Florida at First Church Coral Springs to build over 25,000 coin banks, and they did it with the help of representatives of Dolphins fan websites from all over the country - and in some cases - beyond.
The banks are not your typical cardboard boxes that one might think of however, these were special little boxes that when folded were shaped like a house. Thomas Lukasik, the Vice President of Community Engagement for 4Kids, was more than happy to explain the significance.
"This is the Little Christmas House Project, and these little houses will go home with kids from churches, schools, and businesses all throughout South Florida to collect money for hope for kids who are homeless or fatherless during the Christmas season." Lukasik said. "So we can truly find a home for every child at Christmas."
Because the event focused on homelessness to an extent, it made sense that the two charities teamed up to work towards a common cause, as their goals are very similar to each other.
"In both of these areas of need, families that are homeless as well as children who are in foster care, Hope South Florida and 4Kids provide the entry point." said Executive Director for Hope South Florida Robin Martin. "So when a child is being taken from their home because of abuse, they go to 4Kids. When a family, a single mom, is fleeing a situation of domestic violence, the first place they go is Hope South Florida."
Hope South Florida provides homes for single mothers and families in crisis, and on any given day they have around 100 families all across Broward County in some form of housing thanks to their efforts. They also team up with churches who are willing to open their doors to these families and feed them, and for this event, First Church was more than happy to answer the call.
In fact, Alex Shanks, the Pastor of First Church even mentioned how the church sometimes has homeless families coming to them for help, and they would provide the families with a place to stay and food to eat until they could get back on their feet, so of course they were happy to help.
"We heard from Hope South Florida about a month ago; the Dolphins were gonna team up with them to do these little church houses and they needed a venue, so we said come on down, we have lots of space." said First Church's Business Administrator Bernie Peterman. "We partner with them quite a bit to do some of their map classes for people to adopt kids, and we actually team up with 4Kids a lot of their stuff too."
The church not only provided the venue, but they even took away some of their labor force away from building their Bethlehem Revisited, a weeklong event famous in South Florida where they build a duplicate of Bethlehem and tell the Christmas story. Doing this takes months of preparation, but they nevertheless happily sacrificed their time in an effort to help the Dolphins special teams volunteers and the fan sites reach their goal. Of course, given what eventually happened, they may not have had to.
A sort of competition broke out between all the different websites, as counts of how many boxes were being folded per table. This, of course, encouraged production to the point that all of the boxes were folded within a mere three hours.
The important thing however was that the goal was reached and now kids all across South Florida are going to be given hope during this upcoming Christmas season, and the Dolphins fan sites were all honored to have this be included as a part of the Web Weekend experience.
It isn't something that always gets advertised, and I feel that's a real shame. Not every organization in the world goes out of their way to help their communities the way the Miami Dolphins do. This event is just another example of the kind of heart the Dolphins have, and we should do our best to join in with their efforts and show our appreciation for what they do.