TAMPA, Fla. — Families in Tampa Bay are still hurting: The pandemic is not over, and the economic fallout is being felt in homes across Tampa Bay.
Metropolitan Ministries is answering every call for help, but the group needs your help.
On Nextdoor, neighbors are asking others to help them collect items and donate.
Robin Dunbar lives in Brandon’s Bloomingdale Estates. Her son works for Metropolitan Ministries, and he told her they needed donations. Dunbar put out a little red wagon with a sign that read “METRO MIN” and neighbors instantly knew what that meant.
“I put the wagon out there and I left for the day to go take care of my granddaughter and I came back and bags were just all over my lawn it was amazing,” she said.
She’s done it four times now and says her next post on Nextdoor is going to encourage others to do the same.
“I’m not anybody special. I just happen to have a red wagon that I tote my grandkids around in and you can put anything out in your front yard and your neighbors will fill your wagons,” she said.
In South Tampa’s Golf View neighborhood, Dana Kanfer posted on Nextdoor letting neighbors know her son’s youth groups were collecting for Metropolitan Ministries.
Henry Kanfer and his friend, Jake Gotfried, filled barrels full of food. They donated more than 1,100 pounds.
“We didn’t even expect the amount of food we got. I would have a big barrel and I would have it half full and then I’d go inside for 15 minutes, come outside and it was completely full again. It was crazy,” Gotfried said.
He says the community support was inspiring.
The grassroots efforts have helped feed thousands of families across Tampa Bay.
“It goes out the door as fast as it comes in,” said Justine Burke, the vice president of marketing for Metropolitan Ministries.
Metropolitan Ministries has seen the need explode since early March. The organization has given out 14,400 boxes of food. Each box contains 36 meals.
“Some households have lost both incomes, so really we’re seeing people that have never asked for help from Metropolitan Ministries or from any other organization. They’ve never asked for help before,” Burke said.
Additionally, they have provided more than 200,000 grab-and-go meals and helped families financially. They’ve directly paid landlords and utility companies roughly $625,000.
“They’re [families are] coming to us in utter distress,” Burke said.
She says the donations are key to not only helping families in need but growing a caring community.
“We’ve seen the little grassroots efforts and those all add up to a lot. So, the local food drives and the youth groups getting together in their neighborhoods it just makes such a big difference and it comes with so much heart,” she said.
Heart, sweat equity and a helping hand. Right now, it matters more than ever because the need is not stopping.
“What I always say to myself in any situation is that could be me that could be my children that could be my grandchildren that could be them sitting in line,” Dunbar said.
If you’re in need, Metropolitan Ministries can assist. Click here for the direct link to COVID-19 emergency resources.
This story was inspired by a local resident who let Courtney Robinson know about the awesome things happening in their neighborhood on Nextdoor. She’s looking to share the positive stories of neighbors helping neighbors. Click here to see and comment on Courtney’s Nextdoor posts.
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