TAMPA, Fla. — The holidays are coming up fast and more families than ever are struggling to put food on the table for their Thanksgiving feast.
Metropolitan Ministries said they have already served three times more than the entire 2019 holiday season.
They said the need is greater right now and they expect the need will be five times greater than last year by Christmas.
On Sunday, they passed out boxes of food to families at their Tampa Metropolitan Ministries' Holiday Tent. They said they expect to serve thousands more over the next three days leading up to Thanksgiving.
“For Thanksgiving, it’s gonna be about 20,000 families, a little over that, and we’re almost there,” said Justine Burke, Vice President of Marketing with Metropolitan Ministries.
So far, they have purchased $600,000 in food to serve families in need this holiday season.
In 2019, they spent roughly $250,000 for the entire Thanksgiving and Christmas season.
“Donations are definitely down as far as non-perishable food items coming into the tent, so we’re short. And we’re also having a challenge with bulk purchases. In a pandemic, bulk purchasing is limited, and even for us," said Justine Burke, with Metropolitan Ministries.
There is still time to help and donate.
Metropolitan Ministries is looking for all non-perishables, but especially stuffing, yams and cereal. They're also in need of hams.
The nonprofit is also looking to fill hundreds of volunteer shifts between now and Christmas. They say they are especially looking for volunteers who speak Spanish and English.
Metropolitan Ministries currently has 10 Holiday Tents set up across the Tampa Bay area, in addition to their regular pick-up and drop-off locations. They're ready to serve anyone who needs help, they just ask that you make an appointment before arriving.
For information about volunteering, donating, or making an appointment to receive food from Metropolitan Ministries, click here.