Metro Ministries plans expansion - FOX 13 News

Metro Ministries plans expansion

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

With only two days before Thanksgiving, Metropolitan Ministries says some items are in short supply and donations are urgently needed.

They say they specifically need more turkeys, fruit and yams.

There are 2,200 families scheduled to pick up food in the next two days, and organizers say 300 new families signed up for help yesterday alone.

Metro Ministries President Tim Marks says donations are down from last year by 100,000 pounds.

"We're going out and buying what we can but if people can come out alongside us and help, it would be greatly appreciated," Marks said.

Metropolitan Ministries has been the Bay area's safety net for the needy for the past 40 years. Now, the charity is preparing to help more people than ever before, thanks to a massive expansion project.

Metropolitan Ministries started in a small Victorian home back in 1972. Its original purpose was to bundle the social services of 13 downtown Tampa churches.

"It started primarily as just making soup and sandwiches for people that were living out on the street. Very basic," said Metropolitan Ministries CEO Morris Hintzman.

Over the years, that basic mission has exploded into a sophisticated operation, serving more than 100,000 families every year. Metropolitan Ministries' sprawling campus is still growing, with construction of a new 90,000 square foot facility.

"Walls are going up, everything's coming to fruition. All the hard work and planning, the leadership from our board, the support of our community all comes together here," Metropolitan Ministries Tim Marks said Tuesday.

When the new building opens in summer of 2013, it will make room for double the number of families currently staying at the shelter.

Meanwhile, as 12,000 volunteers gear up to give back this holiday season, Metropolitan Ministries leaders say it's comforting that they can count on Tampa to keep their mission alive.

"It gives me goose bumps to talk about. But it says that this community is, at its core, a genuine, caring community," Hintzman said Tuesday.

Right now, Metropolitan Ministries is still in need of Thanksgiving food donations to help feed more than 2,200 local families. They're looking specifically for donations of turkeys, canned fruit and yams.

Donations can be dropped off at the Metropolitan Ministries Holiday Tent located at 400 West Palm Avenue in Tampa. Meals can also be sponsored by visiting or by calling 813-209-1218.

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