For the third year in a row, Metropolitan Ministries and WWE Global Ambassador Titus O’Neil (Thaddeus Bullard) and his Bullard Family Foundation will join forces to help Tampa area neighbors in need for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
“We are challenging the community to take action through a display of unity and collaboration to help our neighbors who are experiencing hardships. It’s not only what we say, but also the actions we take that matter. No one will go without a Thanksgiving or Christmas holiday, and also be connected to resources beyond the holidays, if we can do something about it, and together, we can,” said Thaddeus Bullard.
The economic impact from the COVID-19 pandemic is disproportionately impacting under-resourced, high-poverty neighborhoods. To ensure that much-needed help and support reach these communities, Metropolitan Ministries has implemented Inspire Hope, a year-round targeted approach to offer Metropolitan Ministries' core services to residents of high-need communities in collaboration with local neighborhood leaders. Through this effort, the Ministries is already distributing 2,500 emergency food boxes a week. The need is magnified during the holiday season.
“This year will be another big challenge with higher food costs and supply chain shortages along with many families still struggling, said Tim Marks, president and CEO of Metropolitan Ministries. “We are grateful to Titus and the Bullard Family Foundation for their leadership role in this effort. Overall, we are actually looking at serving 42,000 families — 33,000 through our holiday tent initiative and 9,000 emergency food boxes through our daily operations, which is much more than we originally anticipated.”
As many as 21,466 volunteers are needed for the holiday season across all locations. Volunteers will support efforts at 12 different distribution sites (three in Pasco, three in Pinellas, six in Hillsborough). In addition to the main hub in Tampa, the Ministries is leveraging partners and volunteers who live and work in the satellite targeted areas to attend their local community site and bring hope to their neighbors.
For those who need help, holiday assistance registration is available now through an online form and in-person during designated hours. Visit metromin.org/holiday-central/need-help.
Those who want to help or get involved can visit the Holiday Central section of the Metropolitan Ministries website for information on conducting food or toy drives, virtual drives, fundraising events, and volunteer opportunities. Donation drop-off locations and hours of operation are also listed.
The size of the main tent has expanded to 42,000 square feet, an increase of 10,000 square feet, to accommodate the larger need (this is nearly the size of a football field). Metropolitan Ministries’ holiday initiative reaches six counties, Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Polk, as well as Manatee and Hernando, through 60 collaborative partners and satellite locations. Registration for assistance is now open. Donation drop-off begins today.
Detailed Holiday information can be found at metromin.org/holiday-central.