WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today, Qatar’s Ambassador to the United States, His Excellency Sheikh Meshal bin Hamad Al Thani, announced a $1,000,0000 contribution to six Miami-Dade nonprofit organizations that are providing relief to Florida residents during the coronavirus outbreak. Farm Share Florida, Best Buddies International, United Way of Miami-Dade, Hospitality Employees Advancement & Training’s (HEAT) COVID Relief Fund, Meals for Heroes and Seniors in Action COVID19 Relief Food Distribution received funds to continue their efforts to provide food security and support struggling families facing unemployment and other challenges amid this unprecedented time.
“The People of Qatar are committed to working with local officials and community leaders to ensure that the citizens most affected by the COVID-19 crisis receive the support they need,” said Qatar’s Ambassador to the United States, Sheikh Meshal bin Hamad Al Thani. “We have a history of partnership with the state of Florida and are invested in the health and strength of the people of Miami.”
The State of Qatar chose these impactful organizations as they are providing invaluable resources and services to the Miami-Dade community and beyond. Each organization provides assistance to different populations in need that have been significantly impacted during this time, including food-insecure Floridians, individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), the hospitality industry workforce and low-income senior citizens.
“The help the people of Qatar are providing to a number of local organizations is incredibly vital and important for our residents,” City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said. “These are hard times for our community and any support will ease the pain many families are living today.”
City of Miami Commission Chairman Keon Hardemon added, “The residents of Overtown and the greater Miami community are appreciative of the support that Qatar is providing to assist in developing their skills to gain meaningful employment. HEAT is on the frontlines of supporting our community to become economically empowered and this support furthers that mission.”
Florida has seen the largest increase in unemployment claims in the country since the start of the COVID-19 crisis.1 Miami, in particular, saw its unemployment rate jump by more than 100% from January to March.2 Prior to the outbreak, 12.5 percent of Floridians already struggled with hunger and food insecurity, 3 a number that has certainly grown larger during this time.
“The support the people of Qatar are providing during these challenging times is critically important and very welcome news for our community,” said City of Miami Beach Commissioner David Richardson. “I’ve seen firsthand how too many families are anxious and worried about basic needs like food, and the funds provided today are going to organizations that are at the forefront of feeding and helping the families most in need.”
“The support provided to these local Miami-Dade organizations will go a long way in helping families during these trying times,” noted City of Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber.
Former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine added, “I am very grateful to the people of Qatar for supporting Miami-Dade County and a group of area nonprofits who are collectively leading relief efforts for our community. It’s truly wonderful to coordinate relief aid for these great local organizations who are at the forefront of providing much-needed support to families facing real challenges."
Qatar has deep and substantial economic ties to the Greater-Miami area and is invested in the wellbeing of Florida as a whole. In 2018, the first Qatar-Miami business forum was held as the first stop on a U.S. tour, with the largest-ever delegation of Qatari government and business representatives to visit Florida. In December 2019, 16 University of Florida students were invited to attend the Doha Forum in Qatar, which addresses a wide array of globally-focused topics and promotes dialogue, exchange of ideas and collaborative solutions.
Executives from Farm Share, Best Buddies International, United Way of Miami-Dade and Hospitality Employees Advancement Training expressed their thanks for this gift from the people of Qatar:
“Families in South Florida are facing real food insecurities. The aid provided by the people of Qatar is very welcome at a time when Farm Share is in need of monetary resources to continue to provide life sustaining food to hungry families, children, seniors and individuals in need. We are immensely grateful for the resources donated to Farm Share."
--Stephen Shelley, President & CEO of Farm Share
“On behalf of the South Florida community, I want to thank the people of Qatar for their unwavering support during these incredibly challenging times for individuals with disabilities and their families. The aid provided will help support Best Buddies’ efforts to secure jobs for people with special needs who are currently unemployed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and also ensure that our mission of inclusion continues to thrive.”
--Anthony Kennedy Shriver, Best Buddies International’s Founder
“With over half of our community’s households already struggling to make ends meet before the pandemic, the economic and health impacts of Covid-19 have only deepened the needs across Miami-Dade County. The generous support of the people of Qatar is needed now more than ever and will provide much needed emergency assistance and relief to families in our community through the Miami Pandemic Response Fund.”
--Maria C. Alonso, President & CEO of United Way of Miami-Dade
“We are immensely grateful to the people of Qatar for the support during these truly difficult times. The hospitality industry in South Florida has been hit especially hard with the crisis and the support we are receiving to the HEAT fund will ensure families are able to better weather the storm. On behalf of the thousands of families who this support will benefit, we share our deepest gratitude for the aid."
--Kandiz Lamb, Director of Hospitality Employees Advancement Training (HEAT) and Miami resident
About the Embassy of Qatar to the United States
The Embassy of Qatar in Washington, D.C. houses Qatar's diplomatic mission to the United States. The primary purposes of the Embassy of Qatar are to highlight Qatar’s policies on regional issues, strengthen Qatar-U.S. bilateral relations and to assist Qatari citizens who travel or live in the U.S. The current Ambassador of the State of Qatar to the United States of America is His Excellency Sheikh Meshal Bin Hamad Al-Thani.