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Supply chain issues having impact on local charities

Posted at 4:00 PM, Nov 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-18 13:50:12-05

TAMPA, Fla — Metropolitan ministries said boxes of cereal, canned goods, Turkeys and all the food groups in between are needed.

Rent has gone up through the roof here in Tampa Bay, I think the highest in the country,” said Tim Marks, the CEO of Metropolitan Ministries. “Then you have gas prices and food prices, families that are paycheck to paycheck really find themselves in a difficult situation.”

Marks said Metropolitan Ministries plans to help around 32,000 families during the 2021 holiday season alone. He said buying in bulk has been nearly impossible because of supply chain issues.

You hear all the time, I’m not making enough or people don’t have a job,” said Sabrena Tucker, a volunteer at Metropolitan Ministries. “It’s really really bad. The need is great.”

Tucker said she knows the value of compassion.

“I was probably 18 or 19, I was a young mother and things were a little tight and I got a turkey and toys here before,” she said. “I always wanna give back to Metropolitan ministries.”

Volunteers like Sabrena are also in high demand not only at Metropolitan ministries but The Salvation Army too.

“Finding volunteers, finding employees that we are paying, it’s a starting job for a lot of people that are coming back into society, it’s hard,” said Major David Swyers, the Tampa area Commander for the Salvation Army. “As any business right now trying to find somebody to work, to fill those voids they have, everyone is experiencing the same thing.”

Swyers said 75% of the Salvation Army’s annual funding comes from the red kettle campaign and they’re looking for bell ringers to sign up. He said everyday necessities are also in short supply right now.

“Towels have been very hard for us to get and we are in great need of towels and single sheets,” he said. “Hygiene products are always a great need for us and there’s limits on those things right now for us.”

Those items can be dropped off year round.

He said while cash is the easiest way to donate, if you’re someone who enjoys buying toys for its angel tree program, “We take those donations at any time and we make sure that a child gets that appropriate gift.”

Or if you’d like to donate a toy virtually, the Salvation Army has teamed up with Walmart where you can choose a needed gift off a registry and it’s shipped right to their office.

Swyers said they’re helping more kids this year than they have in the past 5 years.

When you see that parent come in and just know that Christmas is real again and they start crying, you say all of the hours that we’ve put into this, all of the time, the weeks, the effort it’s all worth it,” he said. “If one person just has that feeling, it’s hard to even express. That moment right there is what it’s about.”

Metro Ministries has expanded into six counties, including Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Polk, Manatee, and Hernando through 60 collaborative partnerships and satellite locations. Holiday assistance registration is available now through an online form and in-person during designated hours, visit their website for more info.

Sign up to be a Salvation Army bell ringer here, or to donate to a virtual kettle here.

Pick a toy from the Walmart registry here, to donate to the Angel Tree Program.