Every year, Metropolitan Ministries collects tons of food to feed the needy during the holidays.
Every year about this time, a massive tent is put up and the collection of food from the giving public resembles a factory assembly line.
This year, there’s a wrinkle.
Metropolitan Ministries, along with Feeding America Tampa Bay, is undertaking a challenge to collect a million pounds of food in 24 hours, more than enough to take over the top spot in the iconic Guinness Book of World Records book.
Among the organizers: 16-year-old Zach Bonner, who founded the Little Red Wagon Foundation nearly a decade ago to help homeless and underprivileged children.
The effort has been dubbed the “World’s Largest Food Drive: Food for a Million.”
The organizations want to collect a million pounds of food for a million needy people in the Tampa area and surrounding counties. That will more than eclipse the record of 559,885 pounds raised by a school in Durham, North Carolina.
Food will be collected at the Metropolitan Ministries’ holiday tent, 400 W. Palm Ave., in Tampa from noon Nov. 7 through noon Nov. 8.
Donors are asked to bring nonperishable food to the drive or donate ahead of time at www.foodforamillion.org.
“I believe we all have a chance to make a difference when it comes to helping those in need,” said Bonner in a statement issued Tuesday. “This food drive is one way everyone can get involved by donating canned food items and be a part of history while helping those who need it the most.”
Not all the donations will come from people bringing in bags full of canned goods.
Wal-Mart, Winn-Dixie, Performance Foods and Publix all have committed to donating food during the drive, but organizers say the effort will need help from the public to reach the million-pound goal.
“It’s a major undertaking,” said Tim Marks, president and CEO of Metropolitan Ministries, in a statement. “Our million-pound goal equals about 24 semi-trucks full of food, and we can’t succeed without the support of our community.”
The weight tabulation will be done at the Metropolitan Ministries tent by Landmark Engineering and Surveying Corp.