TAMPA, Fla. - The Metropolitan Ministries holiday tent in Tampa turns into its own Santa's workshop during the holiday season.
The volunteers are the elves here, getting donations in order for the thousands in need.
"We're finding that families are struggling in our community, some more than ever before," said Metropolitan Ministries president & CEO Tim Marks.
The non-profit is lending a hand throughout the Tampa Bay area.
"From Sun City to Dade City to New Port Richey to South St. Pete," said Marks.
But more than that, they are offering hope through workers like Rhonda Thomas, who once leaned on Metropolitan Ministries when she was homeless.
"Working at the holiday tent, I just love it because you see the kids running around. Their parents are happy because of what they're receiving from Metropolitan Ministries and it just makes me happy because I knew I was once there," she said.
"It provides a smile for a child on Christmas morning. You can't beat that. But to Mom, it lets her know that people believe in her," said Marks.
Because generosity benefits everyone.
"I have met some people when they come just dropping stuff off and I tell them thank you because there's a lost soul out there that needs it. What they’re receiving, I received and I love to see other people receive what they're getting. It brings joy to me,” continued Thomas.
On Friday, December 13, FOX 13 is teaming up with Metropolitan Ministries for donation drives in Hillsborough and Pasco counties.
Stop by the FOX 13 Studios from 7 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. to drop off toy and food donations. Hours apply to the Metropolitan Ministries location in Pasco County that Friday as well.
Members of the FOX 13 family will be at both locations to say hello and thank you for being hope!
Here is how you can help:
Friday, December 13th
7 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.
FOX 13 Studios
3213 W. Kennedy Blvd.
(The Metropolitan Ministries truck will be located behind the FOX 13 Studios on North A)
3214 U.S. Hwy 19
Most needed items:
Toys and gifts:
Specifically teen girl and boy gifts (ages 13-17)
Frozen turkeys, hams
LINK: For information about other drop-off locations and hours and how to donate online: www.metromin.org/holiday-central/overview