5 things you need to know happening in Florida on Thursday, July 17, 2014

TAMPA - Here are five things you need to know happening in Florida on Thursday, July 17, 2014.

(1) Metropolitan Ministries opens second Inside the Box Café location

Metropolitan Ministries will hold a grand opening for its second Inside the Box Café location on Thursday.

The first Inside the Box Café opened in downtown Tampa in 2010.

"The location on Tampa Street is doing extremely well," said Gwen Harmon, Metropolitan Ministries spokeswoman. "We got a lot of feedback that people wanted the convenience of having one in the Westshore area."

The new store is located at 1715 N. Westshore Boulevard.

Every meal purchased at the stores will provide a meal for a person in need through Metropolitan Ministries.

Besides aiding those less fortunate, the charitable organization is also giving local students a brighter future. The locations are managed and staffed by people who've come through the agency's homeless program.

The people making the meals went through Metropolitan Ministries' Inside the Box Culinary Arts Program. It offers students a chance to learn about the culinary arts field.

The grand opening ribbon cutting ceremony will occur today at 11:00 a.m. For more information, visit itbcafe.org .

(2) Goodwill Manasota opens newest store

Goodwill Manasota will opens its newest retail store on Thursday.

The 35,866-square-foot store is located at 2715 51st Avenue East in Bradenton. It features a 24-hour drive-thru donation center.

"When people donate and shop at Goodwill, they are helping us create jobs, and facilitating a stronger economy," said Bob Rosinsky, president & CEO of Goodwill Manasota. "The opening of our newest retail store further reinforces our mission to serve and better our community."

The store will be Mondays through Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., and Sundays from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

The store is the first section of the new corporate center headquarters to open. The remaining officers are scheduled to open in October.

For more information, visit www.experiencegoodwill.org .

(3) Aloft Tampa Downtown opens

Aloft Tampa Downtown, the newest boutique hotel located in Tampa, opens on Thursday.

The hotel, located in the former Mercantile Bank building, is in a prime spot, right on the Tampa Riverwalk along the Hillsborough River.

For today's grand opening, approximately 70 of the 130 rooms are ready for guests. Many of rooms feature balconies overlooking the river. The hotel has a restaurant, fuel by Aloft, and a bar, WXYZ.

The Tampa Bay Business Journal posted a slideside of the hotel: www.bizjournals.com/tampabay/slideshow/2014/07/14/exclusive-tour-the-aloft-downtown-tampa-opening.html .

Currently the hotel is offering a few deals. On a three-night stay, the rate you pay on your second and third nights are equal to your birth year. Florida residents also can receive 10% off the hotel's best rates.

Aloft Tampa Downtown, located at 100 West Kennedy Boulevard, is part of the Starwood chain of hotels. For more information, visit www.starwoodhotels.com/alofthotels/property/overview/index.html?propertyID=3896 .

(4) Voices of Men at Stageworks Theater

The Crisis Center of Tampa Bay is hosting a free, one-night only performance of Ben Atherton-Zeman's Voices of Men on Thursday night.

Voices of Men is one-person play that deals with important issues such as sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence and sexual harassment.

The performance is part of the Crisis Center's Men Stopping Violence Against Women initiative which aims to engage men to end all types of domestic violence towards women.

The play is being put on at 7:00 p.m. at the Stageworks Theater at 1120 East Kennedy Boulevard in Tampa.

The few remaining complimentary tickets still remaining can be obtained by registering at www.eventbrite.com/e/voices-of-men-tickets-11871294361?aff=eorg .

The Crisis Center of Tampa Bay is a non-profit agency that responds to more than 180,000 requests a year for aid. To learn more, visit www.crisiscenter.com .

(5) 34th Annual Hemingway Look-Alike contest

The 34th Annual Hemingway Look-Alike contest begins on Thursday night at Sloppy Joe's Bar in Key West.

The contest is one of the many events going on this week to celebrate the birthday and works of Ernest Hemingway.

The competition begins with the first preliminary round today. A second preliminary round will occur on Friday. The finals are Saturday night.

Last year, 125 Hemingway look-alikes competed in the preliminary rounds. Twenty-five moved on to compete in the finals.

Hemingway Week in Key West runs through Sunday. For more information, visit www.papalookalikes.com .

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