02/14/2011 6:06 PM -

JACKSONVILLE, Fla - The Jacksonville Sharks announce a free preseason game to be hosted in Jacksonville against South Division rival Tampa Bay Storm Monday, February 28, 2011. Additionally, parking will be provided by the Jacksonville Sharks at no cost. Though admission and parking are free, the Sharks ask each person bring a non-perishable canned food donation to benefit the Second Harvest North Florida.

The Sharks have partnered with Second Harvest Food Bank to offer another exciting Arena Football event while helping raise much needed resources to feed the food-insecure households in the First Coast.

“We are always looking for ways for the Sharks to give back to our community,” stated Jacksonville Sharks managing partner Jeff Bouchy. “The idea first came to us when one of our corporate partners, Scott Huskey of Florida Transfer and Storage, told me about their Move for Hunger program. This conversation turned into a meeting with Second Harvest and we quickly learned of the amount of food-insecure individuals, especially children, living in North Florida.”

The pre-season game will feature the reigning South Division Champion Jacksonville Sharks against bitter rival, and last season’s American Conference Champion, Tampa Bay Storm. Parking and admission for the event will be free, though the Sharks ask that each attendee please bring a donation of any non-perishable canned food. The game will kickoff at 7:30 pm with doors opening to the general public at 6:30 pm. Season ticket holders will be able to find their seats beginning at 6:00 pm. Seating will be a first-come, first-serve basis.

“Relationships with our community’s outstanding corporate partners like the Jacksonville Sharks are so very important in the work we do,” Second Harvest Executive Director Thomas Mantz said. “Hunger is a real issue, and it affects children, seniors, the unemployed, people that we know and see each day who go to work and just can’t make ends meet. We are thankful to the Sharks for their desire to help make a difference in the lives of others. We hope to see the arena packed on the 28th, which will mean plenty of food resources for the people who need them the most.”

The First Coast’s food needs are shocking. Second Harvest distributed over 19 million pounds of food in 2010, an increase of 85% from the previous year. About one-third of people receiving food from Second Harvest must choose between purchasing food or paying for utilities, rent or mortgage payments, or paying for transportation. Sadly, it is estimated that the food bank must raise 40 million pounds annually to adequately feed those in need in our community.

“I learned of both the quantity and quality of Sharks fans in our inaugural season,” added Bouchy. “I would like to challenge the Fin-atics in our community to help put a dent in the nearly 20 million pound shortage. We ask for just one can of food per person, but I know our fans always go bigger and better, so I am confident they will bring several cans each. I know that we will all be able to rise to the occasion and fill the bins with food on the 28th.”

Second Harvest North Florida is the oldest and largest program of Lutheran Social Services of Northeast Florida. LSS was founded in 1979 by area Lutherans and business leaders to fill gaps in services offered in the community for people in need. Second Harvest gathers food from local and national sources, shares these resources with more than 500 nonprofit organizations in 18 north Florida counties and helps thousands of people each year who are hungry or at risk of not having being able to provide food for themselves and their families. In addition to collecting and distributing food, Second Harvest serves children in after-school programs through its Kids Cafe and BackPack programs and in summer camps through its Summer Lunch program. It also takes Mobile Pantries filled with Family Boxes of food to people living in neighborhoods with the greatest needs. Call 904.730.8234 for more information about any of these programs and services.

The Jacksonville Sharks are members of the Arena Football League (AFL). The reigning South Division Champions are presented by Sea Best Seafood and play all home games on Sea Best Field at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. The Sharks return to action Monday, February 28th, Saturday, March 12, 2011 in Arizona to battle the Rattlers. The Sharks return home Friday, March 18, 2011 to take on division foe Georgia Force. Season tickets for the 2011 season are now available. To reserve your season tickets, group tickets, or for more information please call (904) 621-0700. Follow the Sharks on facebook at and Twitter @jaxsharks