MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Heat has stepped up to help those in need this holiday season.

As food insecurity continues to grow in South Florida during the coronavirus pandemic, the Miami Heat, along with the Arison Family Foundation, has donated $1 million to Feeding South Florida.

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At a time of the year where many families enjoy each other’s company over a big holiday meal, others are still struggling to put the bare minimum on the table.

Friday, the Miami HEAT, alongside Feeding South Florida and local politicians held a contactless drive-through food distribution at Tamiami Park to help those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

‘Today is a great morning. We’re here with the Miami Heat in recognition of their $1 million gift to Feeding South Florida. It comes at a critical time when we don’t know what’s going to happen in Washington with additional commodity support. So we’re happy to be here this morning in partnership with the Heat,” said Feeding South Florida Executive Vice President Sari Vatske.

The $1 million gift is very much needed said Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.

“The lines are getting bigger and bigger. That is exactly true. You know, at the beginning, we saw the desperation starting in March. Things calmed down a little bit. But now, incredible. People have been in line here since 11 o’clock last night,” said Levine Cava.

About 1,000 families received food at Friday’s distribution.

“We’re giving away fresh vegetables, protein, dairy, hopefully things that families can use to make a great holiday meal over the weekend to serve about four people per household,” explained Vatske.

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State Rep. Vance Aloupi also lent a helping hand. He knows events like this make a big impact.

“It’s incumbent upon all of us not to forget. While we are moving forward and it looks like we’re turning the corner on the on the pandemic with the vaccine now being available, there’s still enormous need in our community,” said Aloupi.

While food drives like this have been so important for so many, Mayor Levine Cava adds the current situation goes beyond the need for food.

“In addition and the New Year, we’re expecting that there’s going to be some longer term relief to help with housing, to help with our businesses. You know, we have to get through this together,” she said.

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Food insecurity is an ongoing crisis in south Florida and HEAT fans are encouraged to “give the gift of food” during the holiday season.

To donate, visit

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Click here to see more food distribution dates and locations from Feeding South Florida.

Steven "Goldie" Goldstein