Metropolitan Ministries serves thousands of Thanksgiving meals to-go due to pandemic

Home for the Holidays

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Thanksgiving looks a little different this year for Metropolitan Ministries.

The pandemic has forced the organization to forgo their traditional Thanksgiving dinner setting. Since sitting down at a table wasn’t an option, families have had to walk up and take their meals to-go.

Volunteers showed up early Thursday morning to make food for those in need.

“It’s the biggest need we’ve ever seen. With the pandemic people have lost jobs, they’ve lost hours, they’ve lost a lot,” said Justine Burke with Metropolitan Ministries.

The organization plans to serve 9,000 meals over Thanksgiving week on top of the thousands of meal boxes it has already given families.

“We’re cooking everything the same. We’re putting it in grab and go containers. We’re going to hand those out with a smile and make sure everyone has a good thanksgiving,” Burke said.

Meals are being boxed up and handed out Thursday. There are fewer volunteers in the kitchen this year due to the pandemic.

“We really turned ourselves inside out. Tried to bring in all the CDC guidelines. Grab-n-go meals, grab-n-go food boxes, but again our volunteers are here. They’re supporting the effort,” said Tim Marks, the organization’s president and CEO.

The community stepped up for Metro Ministries, and for partners of the organization like the Bullard Family Foundation, who’s focus is on helping people and spreading hope.

“If everybody gets up and goes to do something then whatever the need we’ll meet it and exceed it with our love and treating people with dignity,” said Titus O’Neal, WWE wrestler and community leader.

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