Registration begins for Metropolitan Ministries holiday meal

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It's hard to believe, but the holidays are around the corner, which means many families have to think about how they're going to put food on the table.

And many of them turn to metropolitan ministries where registration began today for holiday food help.

This year may be busier than usual.

Metropolitan Ministries could see an uptick this holiday season because of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

"We are definitely prepared and ready through the support of the community to serve any additional families that may be on top of that, that are still suffering from the impacts of both these hurricanes," said Metropolitan Ministries Director of Outreach and Prevention Services, James Dunbar.

Families like those of Erica Williams, whose home was washed away by Hurricane Irma.

"We're just getting started all over again, so this is just another stepping stone for us," she said.

"Every little bit that we get that we get this year, it's going to be a big help. A real big help."

Williams didn't waste any time to make sure her family had a hot meal in front of them this Thanksgiving and Christmas. She got in line as soon as registration opened at 10:00 Thursday morning.

"We don't have much, but it will just encourage us that we can still make it."

Thursday, hundreds stood in a line that wrapped around St. Peter Claver Catholic Church in Tampa.

"Within a lot of the families we are serving, they have additional household members," said Dunbar.

Evacuees from Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria are also seeking help this holiday season.

"Families that are here from Puerto Rico have nothing with them," said Dunbar. "We're working with them in a special way to be able to serve them."

The Williams family is one of at least 18,000 that Metropolitan Ministries will provide Thanksgiving and/or Christmas meals. In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, it means her family will have something to smile about despite all that was lost.

"We just thank God for them," said Williams. "They're our angels here in Tampa, Florida. They're our angels."

If you need a helping hand this holiday season or want to volunteer your time to Metropolitan Ministries, head on over to their website, There you can find registration dates and times, along with where to sign up in Hillsborough, Pasco, and Pinellas counties.

For the most part, they are open Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.