By MEGAN HUSSEY
A Tampa Bay nonprofit faces the greatest fear of any charitable organization; that in the face of a major holiday less than two weeks away, there just won't be enough food for everyone.
Metropolitan Ministries is a local, independent nonprofit agency, providing "services that alleviate suffering, promote dignity, and instill self-sufficiency for poor and homeless families in Tampa Bay since 1972." And the agency has extended its meal and holiday services to Hernando County.
"Metropolitan Ministries is nowhere near the amount of food donations needed for Thanksgiving," read a related news release.
In the wake of a global pandemic and mass unemployment, the need for emergency food services has become overwhelming in this area. And as the holiday known for its seasonal feast approaches, Metropolitan Ministries needs an emergency supply of nonperishable food items and turkeys.
"To put this into perspective, it will take 60 semi-trailer truckloads of food, more than 1 million pounds, to meet the need this year," read the news release. "Food items to fill 20,334 boxes are needed before Thanksgiving. That's an average of 1,600 a day. If everyone who can, donates enough food to provide for just one family, we can ensure those who are struggling have food on the table for Thanksgiving."
The most needed items are canned yams, stuffing, cranberry sauce, instant potatoes, canned fruit, and turkeys.
"I just can't stress it enough," said Justine Burke, vice president of marketing at Metropolitan Ministries. "The need is urgent. And it is growing."
Those interested can drop off Thanksgiving food donations through November 25 at the following locations:
Main Holiday Tents
2609 N Rome Ave., Tampa, FL 33607
3214 US Highway 19 N, Holiday, FL 34691
Keystone Community Church
21010 State Road 54
Lutz, FL 33558
Calvary Assembly of God
13544 US-98 BYP
Dade City, FL 33525
Positive Impact Ministries
2750 34th St S
St. Petersburg, FL 33711
St. James United Methodist Church
16202 Bruce B Downs Blvd
Tampa, FL 33647
For those looking for other ways to give, a number of online options are available.
"We have so many creative ways to give," said Burke.
Visit www.metromin.org to donate cash, by simply pressing the Donate button. Or host an online fund-raising drive, initiating your drive at https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=Hh0cWflwjEG18MjW3Be9O65BfYuKJWxJv1Zhok2jzBBUOTI3S0UwTU9GUlNTSVdYME1NWkRURFlGSy4u.
Options are also available for those who wish to donate food directly, but who may not be comfortable physically donating food items at this time.
"Those who set up a gift registry at Amazon, Target, and Walmart can have items shipped directly to us," said Burke.
It really doesn't matter how donors give to Metropolitan Ministries, says Burke--as long as they give, for the benefit of residents in Hernando and beyond.
"We need to provide Thanksgiving for every family we serve," said Burke. "We can't let anyone go without."