Fifth Third Bank and Metropolitan Ministries hope food drive will help thousands in Tampa Bay

TAMPA - Metropolitan Ministries and Fifth Third Bank have set a goal of 5,300 items for a food drive that will last about a month.

In 47 of their bank branches, Fifth Third is setting up deposits where people can leave essential non-perishable food items, through May 3, otherwise known in the bank as "Fifth Third Day."

The food will go to food banks that help out the needy in Tampa Bay.

But Metropolitan Ministries president Tim Marks says it's more than about the food.

"What we're trying to help is get the families to be fully self-sufficient. So we can help families navigate through the crisis and then become self-sufficient, it's not just to keep giving food out," he says.

That's exactly what the food drive has done for Melanie Rojas.

It wasn't too long ago when she found herself in a position people never want or expect to find themselves in.

She was living with a friend, with $7 in her pocket and an infant that was born prematurely.

"I had been struggling for about two years, in an out of hospitals for treatment, and hadn't been able to get myself a job or stability," she says.

The Metropolitan Ministries not only helped her out with a place to call her own, but also hired her on, to make calls and thank people who donate as someone who has been personally touched by the work of the Ministries.

Now, she is using that time to go to school full-time, and her smile is hard to miss when you ask what she's studying.

"You know they helped other families that I know, and now I'm going to school full-time. I'm studying to be a teacher," Rojas said.

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