TAMPA, Fla. — Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away, but right now Metropolitan Ministries urgently needs donations to fulfill the demand for its holiday tent.
Currently, the nonprofit said it doesn’t have enough food to make it through Thanksgiving, in a year where it’s serving more families than ever before.
“We’re serving twice as many families, that’s never happened. This is the most we ever encountered and then we have the complications of a pandemic where not as many people are going out, not as many drives are happening. We’re 25 percent down in people doing food collection drives for reasons that are understandable,” said Justine Burke, the VP of marketing and communications for Metropolitan Ministries.
Previously, Metropolitan Ministries said it was preparing to serve as many as 50,000 families.
This year, families can register in advance. Rather than a grocery style shopping experience at the tent, the food is already packaged into to-go boxes to be delivered or picked up at the tent, with families given specific times.
It will take more than 1 million pounds of food to meet the demand this year. Burke said, so far, they’ve made just more than 7,000 boxes, but still need to fill around 16,000 more ahead of Thanksgiving.
“There’s a lot of people that do not have that they should have and this is a time of giving thanks which we should be doing every day of the year but it tends to gravitate towards this time of the season and I just feel if you can do it, do it,” said Kay Fawley, after donating food.
Donors can drive up to the tent to drop off items, without having to leave their car. Donations can also be made online.
“Family is very important to us. We have a rather large family and 2020 is gonna put a real damper on that part of it but we do large celebrations and we want to make sure other families had that opportunity as well,” said Steve Strouf after donating.
“Everybody should eat, nobody should go hungry,” said his son, Steve.
The organization said the most needed items include canned yams, stuffing, cranberry sauce, instant potatoes, canned fruit and turkeys.
Donations can be dropped off at the main holiday tents through Nov. 25 at 2609 N Rome Ave., Tampa, FL 33607 and 3214 US Highway 19 N, Holiday, FL 34691.
You can find more drop-off locations here and other ways to give online here.