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Metropolitan Ministries volunteers hand out hot meals on Thanksgiving

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Posted at 4:29 PM, Nov 25, 2021

TAMPA, Fla. — When most people around the Tampa Bay area were still in bed this Thanksgiving morning, volunteers with Metropolitan Ministries were already busy preparing hundreds of meals for those in need.

“Today, we are doing about 3,000 meals just today. We did 10,000 this week for the hot Thanksgiving meals, and at this site is a few hundred,” said Justine Burke, the VP of Marketing and Communications at Metropolitan Ministries.

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Volunteers were up early in the kitchen at 4:00 a.m., cooking and packing up meals to serve. Volunteers handed out meals at a partner location in downtown Tampa Thursday.

“They’ve been working all week, and we finished up today, the culmination of Thanksgiving," said Burke. "Cooking, we had mashed potatoes going, gravy, vegetables, 2,500 pounds of turkey this morning."

Volunteers not only provided grab and go meals, but warm socks and greeting cards, topped off with a gratitude board to celebrate the holiday.

“That’s why we talk about hope a lot because we give them food, and they say, ‘but more than that, you gave me hope, and it feels really good to know that somebody cares about me today,'” said Burke.

Jennifer Parker received a hot meal at the downtown site and told ABC Action News she felt happy and grateful.

“I’m thankful for the people that come out and share food with us and the outreach. In other places, homelessness is a lot more difficult. Here, it’s a little bit bearable. We have resources, people that are willing to help us, kindness. That speaks volumes in our world,” said Parker.

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Volunteers in the Tampa Bay area wanted to show people Thanksgiving isn’t just about the food, family and friends, but about inspiring a little hope and happiness, too.

“Blessed, so much blessed. Not only Thanksgiving, but I’m thankful every day,” said Greg Lee, who received a meal.