Florida tennis volunteers met the 40,000 meals goal during the “Meals of Hope” event in conjunction with the United States Tennis Association-Florida Section (USTA Florida) Annual Meeting and Tennis Celebration Weekend, held Dec. 1-4, 2011, at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress in Orlando, Fla. More than 150 event volunteers and guests participated in packaging meals that will be distributed to families in need in the Orlando area during the holidays and beyond.
USTA Florida Executive Director Doug Booth wore a hair net and a USTA Florida “Share the Love” t-shirt as he measured dry food for packaging among one of the many packaging assembly lines.
“This is great, we try to help the community, which is what we always try to do through tennis,” Booth said, looking around at the more than 150 volunteers. “It’s just another way of giving back, and that’s what our volunteers do.”
The USTA Florida “Share the Love” grant program is a $500,000 initiative to put funding back into the Florida tennis community for a variety of projects. This funding is on top of the 90% of budget and membership dollars that USTA Florida returns back into the tennis community each year.
“This is phenomenal,” said USTA national Board of Directors member Dale Caldwell, a guest and speaker during the weekend, taking a break from loading pallets of dried food boxes during the event. “This is my heart, I’m involved in a couple non-profits and this is what tennis is all about. I love the ‘Share the Love’ program, and this is just phenomenal. It brings people together, the USTA Florida Section does so many unique things, it’s really innovative, and I’d like to spread the word to other sections. This is especially great in this time of need.”
The 62nd Annual USTA Florida Annual Meeting and Tennis Celebration Weekend in Orlando awarded the top volunteers involved in growing tennis at the grassroots level in Florida. USTA Florida volunteers enjoy activities such as national speakers, the annual awards, the “Future Forecast” for recreational tennis, tennis play events, workshops, a game night including Bingo and Texas Hold ‘Em, the “Breakfast with the Stars” and more.
For additional information on the USTA Florida/Meals of Hope event, contact Linda Curtis at CurtisL@florida.usta.com.