TAMPA, Fla. — The Super Bowl is over, but an effort to give the stuff that makes up the events new life is kicking into gear this week.
NFL Green leads an effort to team up with organizations to repurpose materials, something started around 25 years ago. Typically, it’s semi-trucks filled with things like decor, signs, carpet, building materials, fabric and office supplies.
“We looked at it as a way not just to make our events more efficient and a lighter footprint but we also said how can we take the same principles and really benefit the community,” said Jack Groh, the director of NFL Green.
Groh said they build partnerships in the community that can re-use the material.
“Every year we kind of push a little further to see what more can we recapture,” Groh said.
This year, Habitat for Humanity of Hillsborough County said it’s getting material like sheet wood, dismantled risers and lumber it can sell in its restores.
“Those materials that get sold in the stores, our stores actually generate about 30 percent of the revenue in our overall program,” said CEO Tina Swain. “We build about 30 homes every year so about 30 percent of the overall cash flow comes from our thrift stores.”
While the material may not seem glamorous at first glance, it still carries a big impact.
“I know it might seem small to you but to get two pallets of napkins I’m not gonna have to buy napkins for two years from the Salvation Army and we serve more than 300 meals a day,” said Captain Andy Miller, the area commander of the Salvation Army in Tampa.
Miller said they’re also expecting things like PPE, tarps, bike covers and banners, some of which can be used and some that can be auctioned off.
“This is savings we’re going to be able to benefit from for a long time,” he said.
Groh said office supplies will also go to the Hillsborough Education Foundation.
The NFL also teams up with Good360 to donate unused championship and Super Bowl game merchandise to vetted nonprofit organizations overseas.
“Only one team can win these games and only one team can win the championship so we have a lot of merchandise that is unusable. So what we’re able to do is work with the NFL to take those goods and then donate them overseas to serve communities in need who otherwise wouldn’t have access to apparel items of this high quality,” said Shari Rudolph, the organization chief development officer.
Rudolph says typically that’s thousands of items.
“Working with the NFL we have pre-approved regions in places like Africa, and the Middle East and Asia where these are candidates to go to,” she said.
The NFL also helps arranges the donation of what’s typically tens of thousands of pounds of food from Super Bowl events, working with Feeding Tampa Bay this year.
"We want to leave the entire Tampa Bay community in better shape than we got there," said Groh.