Hometown Heroes: Disabled volunteers dedicated to giving back

Tina Castentera loves her job at Metropolitan Ministries. She's volunteered in the Miracle Place dining room for 11 years.

"I like to help serve on the line. I cook the soup good," said Tina

Tina is one of a half dozen volunteers from Suncoast New Options, a place where adults with developmental disabilities can go to get support and training. They spend Monday through Fridays at Metropolitan Ministries preparing and serving lunch for hundreds of families and employees.

"I made a lot of friends, and someday I want to get an outside job. That's why I'm learning to do things," explained Tina.

One of Tina's friends and fellow volunteers, Eddie Cruz, has also helped out in the kitchen for more than a decade.

"I like this job. It's fun," said Eric.

They go to work every morning at 9:00 to start prepping for the mid-day rush.

"There's no training needed for these guys. They all know what to do. They have a system," said Executive Chef Luis Soto.

Once the clock reaches 11:30, Lunch is served.

Thousands of meals are cooked in the Metro Ministries kitchen every day. Some of the food is served while others are delivered to people in need all across the Tampa Bay area.

Chef Luis says none of it would be possible without the help of their eager volunteers.

"They just go and do whatever they have to do. They know what time we're going to be serving and what time we stop serving," said Chef Soto.

And with this group of volunteers, diners aren't just guaranteed a good meal; they also get service with a smile.

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