TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Tampa Bay families need your help more than ever this holiday season.
It can be as easy as dropping off food or money donations on your way to work.
Metropolitan Ministries is hoping the community can pull through so they can feed the growing need.
The organization is the reason thousands of families in Tampa Bay have food during the holidays.
President and CEO Tim Marks said they’ve never seen a year like this.
“Our donations are feeling the pressure of inflation,” Marks said. “Our donations are down 30%.”
They still have hope and determination to feed 30,000 families at a minimum.
“When you think about the choices that folks are making– paying rent, buying gas, keeping their families safe, they’re looking at what do I do with rising food costs?” Marks said.
The Ministries’ annual food drive kicks off at 8 a.m. Monday, Nov. 6 at tents across Tampa Bay. The one in Tampa is located at 2609 North Rome Avenue. You can see a list of the tent locations online.
Volunteers will put boxes together with all the holiday food necessities. Turkeys, hams, and stuffing are all on the list of most needed items.
“I was one of those cars that was pulling in,” Former WWE Superstar Titus O’Neil said. “My mom, single-parent home, four kids to raise, two jobs to make ends meet that never met.”
Metropolitan Ministries leaders said there has never been a higher demand for holiday food assistance.
“To see all of these applications online being submitted and approved this early just again illustrates the need is great in our community,” Marks said.
Marks also said they’ll help more than 30,000 families if they can.
O’Neil’s generous donation is certainly going to help.
“I’d like to kick off this holiday tent kickoff with a $50,000 donation to Metropolitan Ministries and their effort to continue to bring hope, be hope, and give hope to so many people out in the community.”
This food drive will go on through Christmas Eve. You can also make donations online through this link. Volunteers are also needed.
Former MLB player Orestes Destrade is going around to schools trying to recruit bilingual volunteers.
“I met with Titus, I met with the CEO Tim Marks and Jostene Burke and together we kind of put an emphasis more geared toward the Hispanic community and to try to help out,” Destrade said. “Imagine if you’re coming with your family to get some help with your kids and your family and you really don’t speak English very well. It’d be a lot nicer if you have a volunteer that’s bilingual.”
The pros are volunteering, and so can you.