TAMPA, Fla (WFLA) – This Thanksgiving, Metropolitan Ministries is serving up hope by providing hot Thanksgiving meals to those in need in the Tampa Bay area.

On Thanksgiving Day alone they will hand out nearly 3,000 hot meals. During the week of Thanksgiving, they will serve a total of more than 10,000 hot meals.

Metropolitan Ministries starts planning for the Thanksgiving holiday months in advance.

“We have been planning for thanksgiving for over 6 months, to get 12,000 food boxes out in the past week, plus the more than 10,000 hot meals throughout the week, 3,000 of them today,” said Tim Marks, President of Metropolitan Ministries.

However, serving that many people isn’t possible without the help of those who give the gift of time and volunteer.

“They are vital to our operation. It takes 21,000 volunteers for us to make the holidays happen,” said Justine Burke, Metropolitan Ministries.

Because of the pandemic, Metropolitan Ministries will serve the Thanksgiving meals to-go instead of hosting their usual sit-down dinner.