TAMPA, Fla. — Metropolitan Ministries is making changes in light of the coronavirus to keep safety in mind, while making sure no one goes hungry.
On Tuesday, the nonprofit transformed its market at its Family Support Center into a drive-thru.
“Unfortunately, we anticipate this crisis is going to cause a lot of people a lot of hardship and a lot of elongated hardship and this is only the beginning,” said Justine Burke, the Vice President of marketing for Metropolitan Ministries.
To follow CDC guidelines and practice social distancing, rather than people coming inside to the market, the organization is having people stop at a drive through, where volunteers and staff wearing gloves deliver prepared boxes of food.
“I just hope we can beat this coronavirus thing we got this I just pray we can hold on and trust God as our source,” said volunteer Leah Jenkins.
The nonprofit is asking for the following items:
- Canned vegetables
- Canned fruit
- Canned meats
- Peanut butter
- Hygiene items
Metropolitan Ministries estimated it handed out around 120 boxes Tuesday and that about 200 people reached out for rental and utility assistance. Burke said they anticipate helping people they already serve and new people.
“We can draw upon the emergencies in the hurricane situation. This causes elongated months of effects for people. You know people living paycheck to paycheck people who are in hourly jobs maybe losing hours their restaurant or their store that they’re at. Whatever job they may be is not able to pay them or provide them with work. When you live paycheck to paycheck you lose one paycheck and your whole world can fall apart,” she said.
Burke said they need the community’s help. Right now they have supplies for about 3,000 boxes, but will need food, hygiene products and cash donations.
There is an emergency impact fund where you can donate money. The minimum donation amount is $10.
“That’s real good because wanna keep them safe and wanna keep us safe,” said Gail Warmack after picking up a box of food in the drive thru.
RIght now, it is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. A financial assistance form can be completed online.
You can learn more about Metropolitan Ministries response here.