Sandra Hale Schulman
Special to Indian Country Today

The Seminole Tribe of Florida – owner of a restaurant and hotel empire that includes Hard Rock and Seminole gaming – has donated $250,000 to help their neighbors affected by the collapse of Champlain Towers South condominiums in nearby Surfside, Florida.

The tribe made the cash donation to the Support Surfside fund, which was created by the Coral Gables Community Foundation, the Key Biscayne Community Foundation, the Miami Foundation, the Knight Foundation, the Miami Heat and the Miami Heat Charitable Fund.

The Seminole contribution announced July 1 brought the total raised to more than $2.25 million.

“This is a terrible tragedy and our hearts go out to the many people affected by it,”  Seminole Tribe of Florida Chairman Marcellus Osceola Jr. said in a statement. “The Seminole Tribe pledges to marshal our resources and do everything we can to help.”

Since the Hard Rock started with a café, workers at Hard Rock Café Miami will prepare and deliver 100 dinners each day starting Saturday, July 3, to help feed Miami-Dade Fire Rescue workers at the site.

“In keeping with one of Hard Rock’s founding mottos of ‘Take Time to Be Kind,’ Hard Rock and Seminole Gaming team members want to do something meaningful to help people affected by this tragic event,” said Jim Allen, chairman of Hard Rock International and chief executive of Seminole Gaming.

“Our Support Surfside Program is about reaching out to our neighbors in need and extending a helping hand,” Allen said.

The tribe is also conducting a public fundraising campaign at all restaurant, retail and hotel venues of Hard Rock and Seminole Gaming. Guests will be asked to round up their purchase amounts to the next dollar, with their change being donated to the Support Surfside fund, officials said in a press release.

Employees will be able to contribute directly to the fund with a match by Hard Rock and Seminole Gaming. Headquartered in Hollywood, Florida, a few miles west from Surfside, Hard Rock International and Seminole Gaming employ 50,000 team members worldwide.

Related stories:
— Florida officials pledge probes into condo collapse
— Condo building needed $9 million in repairs
— Florida town deemed condo building in good shape 

The 12-story condominium complex partially collapsed into a heap of rubble on June 24, killing at least 20 people. More than 100 people remain missing as of Friday, July 2. Search-and-rescue teams have remained at the site, though efforts have been hampered periodically by fears other portions of the building could shift or collapse.

Donations have poured in since the collapse. President Joe Biden visited the site Thursday, July 1, meeting with surviving families and promising to cover 100 percent of the rescue and recovery costs for the first 30 days.

Surfside residents Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, who live a block away from the Champlain condo but were not in town at the time of the collapse, have organized a week’s worth of food for first responders.

“We are asking people to not send items like stuffed animals, blankets, clothing and household goods — as it takes time and money to store, sort, clean and distribute these items, which diverts limited resources away from helping those most affected,” the American Red Cross said in a news release.

For more information visit Support Surfside Fund.

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