Concession sales to aid Hurricane Charley victims

GAINESVILLE, Fla. --- For fans attending the University of Florida's first home football game Sept. 4, helping Hurricane Charley victims will be as easy as buying a soft drink or hot dog.

Working in conjunction with the state's Hurricane Charley Relief Fund, which Gov. Jeb Bush established immediately after the storm hit, the university will add 25 cents to the price of every item purchased at concession stands during the season opener against Middle Tennessee State. In addition, the University Athletic Association will match the funds raised. The money will be sent directly to the nonprofit Volunteer Florida Foundation, which is managing the fund, and the amount raised will be available after the game.

"This is a natural opportunity to harness the tremendous giving power of Gator football fans at a time of obvious need in our state," said UF President Bernie Machen.

Charley, which slammed into Port Charlotte on Aug.13 packing 145-mph winds, had claimed at least 25 lives as of today The storm affected 25 Florida counties, and damage estimates to homes, businesses and other property exceed $7 billion. President Bush declared the area a federal disaster area.

"There were lives lost and families that were affected in ways that we could only imagine by Hurricane Charley. Our thoughts and prayers continue to go out to those affected by the devastation," UF Athletics Director Jeremy Foley said. "I'm sure the generosity of Gator fans will be evident by the money raised at the Middle Tennessee State game."

The relief fund's mission is to raise money and in-kind contributions to help Floridians with relief and recovery through strengthening families and rebuilding communities. Anyone wishing to make an individual donation to the fund may call 1-800-825-3786. More information is available on the foundation's Web site at www.volunteerfloridafoundation.org.


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