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Local charities need your help giving gifts this holiday season

Thanksgiving showed local nonprofits just how great the need is for help this holiday season in Tampa Bay.

TAMPA, Fla. — In a season when we give gifts to family, friends and loved ones, nonprofit organizations hope to make your giving list too. 

This year, especially, food banks and meal programs have been touched by the COVID-19 pandemic. Feeding Tampa Bay has nearly doubled the number of people it helps since many families have been financially impacted by the coronavirus.

"Before the pandemic, we saw 650,000 people in our care and now that's grown to over a million," said Shannon Hannon-Oliviero of Feeding Tampa Bay.

Metropolitan Ministries also doubled the number of people it provided holiday meal kits for. 

Charities that provide meal assistance struggled during Thanksgiving because they weren't able to secure their large bulk orders because of supply chain issues and shortages in grocery stores, so they're asking for the community to step in before Christmas and Hanukkah.

Other nonprofits like Christmas for Fosters, which provides holiday gifts for children in foster care and their families, say that giving is what encourages recipients to pay it forward. 

"When they [foster parents] feel their community loves them and supports them, it's what keeps pushing them on to continue serving and loving on these kids," said Sarah Weaver, founder of Christmas for Fosters.

Metropolitan Ministries needs at least 100,000 toys for kids of all ages this holiday season.

Credit: Metropolitan Ministries

Consider donating to your favorite local nonprofit, whether it be an animal shelter or a food bank. If you can't donate money or items, consider donating your time by volunteering.

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