Whether you’re new to the Tampa Bay area or are a natural-born Tampanian, chances are that you have heard of one of our community’s greatest heroes: Metropolitan Ministries.
Founded more than half a century ago, Metropolitan Ministries provides essential support and services for the homeless community, bringing brighter futures to local families in need. The nonprofit focuses on three core principles: to alleviate suffering, to promote dignity, and to instill self-sufficiency to the most vulnerable and at-risk individuals in our community.
Mission Search has held this incredible organization close to our hearts and, every year, we look to their inspiring initiatives that bring hope and life-changing help to those most in need.
Helping the Crisis of Homelessness
The Tampa-St. Petersburg metropolitan area has the highest rate of homelessness in the nation, according to a report issued by the National Alliance to End Homelessness. Not only does the state claim the title of the largest unsheltered homeless population, but it also equates to approximately 57 homeless out of every 10,000 residents. An even more heartbreaking fact is that nearly 20% of these individuals are children.
In addition to their ongoing fundraising campaigns, each year, Metropolitan Ministries dedicates the month of June to the “Summer Backpacks of Hope” and the winter months for their Holiday Food and Toy Drive to help address the needs of this especially vulnerable group of individuals.
Overcoming COVID to Increase Fundraising in Tampa Bay
“COVID-19 certainly made an impact, initially,” says Ms. Paula Dang, Associate Director of Community Donations at Metropolitan Ministries. “With social distancing, we saw a large decline in participation at in-person drives at churches and schools – community partners who normally are our most supportive partners. Closures and the adoption of remote teams meant that ultimately, more individuals in our community were needing more assistance due to these circumstances,” she explains.
Fortunately, the organization saw an opportunity to advance its online fundraising efforts. Through Amazon Smile, Amazon Wishlists, registries with Walmart and Target, and more – they quickly saw that the community was still there to support them.
“The new virtual model means that goods can be shipped directly from our warehouse and then distributed to families onsite. We received tremendous support from our community in monetary donations during this difficult period,” says Ms. Dang.
How You Can Help – Visit the Holiday Central
Every holiday season, Metropolitan Ministries launches their Holiday Central – a virtual gateway where people can learn how they can support the community through donations, volunteer opportunities, become a holiday partner, and even contribute in-kind on their online store.
Some of the most needed items include:
● Frozen turkeys, hams, or chicken
● Canned yams
● Bagged or boxed stuffing
● Cranberry sauce
● Bagged or canned beans
● Canned soup
● Bags of rice
● Boxed or canned potatoes
● Gravy packets
● Dessert mixes
● Canned fruit or vegetables
● Boxed macaroni & cheese
You can learn more and purchase these items directly to help those in need by visiting the Metropolitan Ministries Holiday Store.
“We Rise By Lifting Others” – Robert Ingersoll
At Mission Search, we believe deeply in rising to the occasion when we can help others who need it the most. Our team has been active this holiday and we are collecting toys and food items to support Metropolitan Ministries’ mission to alleviate suffering to the most vulnerable neighbors in our community. If you are near our office you can also donate any items until December 15, 2021.