Happenings at Times Palace: Operation: Spare Change, Pucks for Paws [UPDATED]

The week ahead has the Bolts playing twice at home in crucial divisional matchups against the Washington Capitals (tomorrow, January 12, at 7:30 PM) and Florida Panthers (Thursday, January 14th 7:30 PM). This is also opening a stretch where the Lightning play at home 10 games out of the remaining 17 before the Olympic break goes into effect in mid-February.

And of course, there is always something going on at St. Pete Times Forum during these home matchups and this week is no different. We've already noted that the Lightning will be holding their third Unplugged session this week, but that is decidedly a non-arena event.

Below the jump, get the news on a pair of game-day arena promotions. Both are for good causes.

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Operation Spare Change

Starting with tomorrow's game versus the Caps and until the end of month, the Lightning and Treats for Troops will be collecting spare change at Gate C (the suite entrance) and in the West Plaza.  The money goes toward sending care packages to United States military serving overseas.

From the press release:

The Lightning and Treats For Troops will be collecting spare change at tables set up on the West Plaza and outside of the Gate C Suite Entrance prior to remaining Lightning home games this month, beginning January 12 versus Washington. At the end of the month, the two organizations will come together to compare their efforts in hopes of achieving their mutual goal.

With the motto "Until they ALL come home," Treats for Troops and The Tampa Bay Lightning will continue sending over two hundred seventy-pound boxes of goodies from home every week to those in harm’s way. Treats for Troops founder Karin King expressed ‘excitement’ about the addition of The Tampa Bay Lightning and their fan base to ensure that those who put their lives on the line know they are greatly appreciated and not forgotten.

"The partnership between Treats for Troops and the Tampa Bay Lightning is a fantastic combination. All proceeds will go to benefit our troops," said Bob Williams, co-founder of Treats For Troops. "I talk with thousands of people and they all want to help, they just don't know how. Operation Pocket Change gives them an easy way to participate. They can read the e-mails on our web page of how grateful our troops really are. I can't thank The [Tampa] Bay Lightning enough for their support of the very people that keep us free."

Williams is confident that the partnership with the Lightning organization will be the first of many major joint efforts within the community to directly benefit America’s finest.

Treats For Troops frequently receives a large variety of donated items from companies and organizations throughout the country. They have routinely been able to cover the cost of shipping and have not found it necessary to fundraise in order to distribute care packages around the world. With the current deployment of tens of thousands of additional troops overseas, however, the charitable organization needs assistance in covering the costs of postage and packaging in order to accomplish its goal in supplying our servicemen and women with the comforts of home. All proceeds collected will be put towards providing these services.

For those interested in more information or perhaps doing more than donating spare change, please check out For Our Troops for more information.

Humane Society Pucks and Paws

This promotion speaks for itself:  Bolts fans are encouraged to bring medium-sized bags of dry dog and cat food to the Humane Society table set up in the West Plaza of the St. Pete Times Forum.  You will receive a raffle ticket for the chance to win an autographed Martin St. Louis jersey.

From the press release:

The Humane Society will also have vehicles, including their mobile pet adoption unit, on the plaza to allow fans to adopt animals before the game. Fans can put animals on hold and pick them up from the Humane Society at a later date. Humane Society dogs will also accompany in-arena host Brittany Zion at various times throughout the game while game presentation will center around Humane Society initiatives. Lightning players, many of whom are animal lovers, will also be on LightningVision talking about their own personal pets. Representatives from the Humane Society will also kick things off by saying the traditional "Let’s Play Hockey" before the game.

For more information, check out the official press release on Tampa Bay Lightning.com

[Note by John Fontana, 01/11/10 4:26 PM EST ] The following was posted on the Lightning's official Facebook page: They want pictures of YOUR pets

Click on the above image for more information.