NewsHillsborough County


6,000 people get warm Thanksgiving meal thanks to Metropolitan Ministries

Posted at 9:25 AM, Nov 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-22 15:00:05-05

TAMPA, Fla. — It’s a yearly tradition at Metropolitan Ministries where a group of volunteers help cook and feed nearly 6,000 people a warm Thanksgiving feast.

Volunteers began showing up at 4 a.m. Thursday to get the prep started and cooked until about 10 a.m. They had 1,500 pounds of turkey, 1,200 pounds of mashed potatoes and stuffing, 80 gallons of gravy and 1,000 pies. 

"I came in at two in the morning. I couldn't sleep. I’ve been doing this for 9 years, but every time when we get to this day I get like that. I want to make sure everyone gets fed today and everything goes out on time,” said Luis Soto, the Director of food service for Metropolitan Ministries. 

The one thing they’ve been struggling with in Pasco County is canned veggies and yams. They say the shelter there ran out and while it may be too late to donate for Thanksgiving, they need food for the holiday season too.

They also are in need of toys. They currently have 10,000 toys but are looking for another 30,000. They say it’s important for folks to not just think about the younger kids, but the teens as well. 

“We often give suggestions, even a gift card because they are hard to buy for and those gifts tend to be more expensive,” said Justine Burk, the VP of marketing. “We always lack that group and we know it’s going to happen again so when you’re out shopping if you pick something up for the kids that’d be really great."

Those toys should be new and wrapped. 

If you’d like to donate, you can drop the toys off at their holiday tent downtown at the corner of Cass and Nebraska.