Metropolitan Ministries ends its holiday season Tuesday with a community lunch at its holiday tent at North Boulevard and Palm Avenue.
The sprawling tent on the north side of the Hillsborough River has been the site of the nonprofit's annual holiday donations and distributions. Its long-time home on the ministries' property on North Florida Avenue has been taken over by the construction of a new residential wing.
Ministries officials distributed thousands of Thanksgiving meals to the Tampa Bay area's poor last month.
They began this month with a call for donations. Their stocks of food and toys for Christmas had fallen precipitously after Thanksgiving to just 9,000 pounds of food – 100,000 less than they needed for Christmas donations.
By today, donors had provided 250,000 pounds of food and 44,000 toys for the region's needy, said Metropolitan Ministries spokesman David Bledsoe.
Tuesday's holiday meal is open to the public. It begin at 11:30 a.m. and runs to 1:30 p.m.
Ministry staffers will continue to accept donations of food and other items at the tent.
Any unused holiday food will go into the ministries' food bank at its headquarters. Toys will be distributed to other nonprofits, Bledsoe said.
Christmas Day at Metropolitan Ministries
5:30 a.m. – Delivery of toys by volunteers to the Family Care Center (2002 N. Florida Avenue)
7-10 a.m. – Opening gifts Christmas Morning gifts with resident families (2002 N. Florida Avenue)
8-11 a.m. - Christmas Brunch for resident families (2002 N. Florida Avenue)
11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. - Christmas Meal for the community at holiday tent (400 West Palm Avenue)