Metropolitan Ministries brightens Christmas for the homeless

A special Christmas day celebration was held for more than 100 homeless families residing on the main campuses of Metropolitan Ministries in Tampa and West Pasco. 

"We have 100 families, with about 200 children that live with us here on the Tampa campus, as well as our West Pasco campus in Holiday," said Justine Burke with Metropolitan Ministries.

The kids all get gifts, followed by a party in the Tampa courtyard complete with snow.

"Being here is a big relief. It allows me as a parent to know that my kids are safe, and they get to enjoy their Christmas. It also allows me to save money to where I can get out of here and provide for my family as a single mom," said resident Brandi Ramsey. 

Cooks in the Metropolitan Ministries kitchen are also busy cooking holiday meals, not only for those on campus, but for hundreds of homeless people throughout the area.  Those meals will be served at satellite locations.

"We're going to be having ham today with sweet potato mash and vegetables and rolls. We'll be serving 6,800 meals this week, finishing up today. Those will be served in downtown Tampa and at two sites in Pasco County," Burke said.

Chef Cliff Barsi and a small crew make those meals.  They'll prepare 1,200 pounds of brown sugar baked ham and 1,600 pounds of sweet potato mash.  There will also be 1,600 pounds of peas and carrots served.

In addition to more than 1,000 meals distributed to the Salvation Army and Pinellas Safe Harbor, Metropolitan Ministries will be serving Christmas meals to homeless and at-risk singles/families at three partner locations:

The Portico 
1001 N. Florida Ave., Tampa, FL 33602
11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Zephyrhills/East Pasco
Healing Hearts Cafe 
6436 12th St., Zephyrhills, FL 33542
12:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.

New Port Richey/West Pasco
First United Methodist Church
5901 Indiana Ave., New Port Richey, FL 34652
11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

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