Volunteer leaders provide service to families in need

- It may not seem like the most glamorous job, sorting through food cans.

But to the families receiving these goods for their holiday meals, it means the world to get products without damages, just like anyone else in the grocery store.

"That's why we take the time to really check everything. We hopefully catch the vast majority of it and we're putting out some very good product for families who have a need for it this time of the year", said Bob Kozyra, a volunteer food operations manager at the Metropolitan Ministries holiday tent in Tampa.

Another volunteer manager, Allen Steele, has been volunteering for Metropolitan Ministries for about 10 years.

He and his wife donated to the cause for more than 20 years before that.

"One day my wife said we're going to get our hands dirty, so I came down and started with the ministry", said Steele.

This is Kozyra's 21st year helping out.

"We see a need in the community. I think I've been very fortunate in many ways and this is one way to give back", said Kozyra.

For many years, they've seen firsthand what their efforts and the donations from the community means for families.

"They have tears in their eyes and they're joyful about just a simple amount of receiving food". said Steele.

Seeing that not only keeps them coming back to help year after year, but encouraging new volunteers to follow in their footsteps.

"I'll try to have them come in, give them a tour and they really get an appreciation of what exactly the community is doing for some families that are in need at this point and time", said Kozyra.

Sadly with each year, they see that need growing.

"I would love for this tent never to be here but every year we have to serve the needs of 18-20 thousand families around the bay area. The problem hasn't gotten any better and there is a need for donations", said Steele.

So as long as the need is there, the two will be working hard at the holiday tent making sure these families have a Christmas no different than anyone else.

For information on how to volunteer or donate to Metropolitan Ministries go to metromin.org.

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