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NEWS: Metropolitan Ministries says need for holiday assistance soars way beyond projections

Metropolitan Ministries was expecting a big challenge and preparing to serve as many as 40,000 families this holiday season due to hardships caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The need is even worse than anticipated, and the nonprofit now expects those numbers could climb to 50,000 families in need of aid. 

With CDC recommended precautions in place, Metropolitan Ministries opened its first-ever online registration process on October 28. Flooded with requests for help, the host server crashed in the first few hours and continues to be inundated. A more robust system had to be implemented to handle the volume.  

To meet the need, Metro has turned itself inside out and expanded its reach to six counties through 65 distribution partner locations in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Polk, and new this year, Manatee and Hernando counties. Nearly half, 23,000 households, will be served through the partner sites and 1,200 homebound individuals will receive deliveries. 

The demand for nonperishable food is a real concern amid the pandemic. Food collection drives are down by 50% versus 2019, and the ability for the Ministries to make bulk purchases is more limited. 

The only way that Metropolitan Ministries can meet the need is with the support of the Tampa Bay community. Food donations can be dropped off at the main holiday tent in Tampa or at various partner locations.  

Most needed items: canned yams, stuffing, cranberry sauce, boxed potatoes.

Metropolitan Ministries accepting donations via Amazon and other retailers shipped directly to the holiday tent at 2609 N. Rome Ave., Tampa, FL 33607. 

For information about locations and how to help go to metromin.org/holidaycentral   

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Articles Restaurant News

NEWS: Armature Works launches Hurricane Dorian Relief Drive

Are you looking to help the survivors of Hurricane Dorian? Armature Works located at 1910 North Ola Avenue in Tampa is working to help the victims of the storm.

AW Mercantile, located inside of Armature Works, will act as a collection center for baby supply items daily through next Monday, September 10th from 9AM to 7PM. You can also bring hurricane relief supplies over to Boca Kitchen Bar and Market at either the SoHo Tampa or Brandon location, Ciro’s Speakeasy and Supper Club, or Sea Critters Café in Pass-a-Grille.

Hurricane Relief Drive

All donors will receive a voucher good for 10% off at all Armature Works concepts and any of the aforementioned Armature Works affiliate family of restaurants. All donations will be delivered to SOL Relief, which focuses on “providing humanitarian aid and disaster relief with the use of aviation”. For more information about SOL Relief, visit solrelief.org.

Armature Works proprietors, Chas and Taryn Bruck, through The Bruck Family Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit organization, will match any donated items received during this drive.

At least 60% of homes in the Bahamas were destroyed when Hurricane Dorian passed through and at least 7 people were killed.

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Restaurant News

Hurricane Maria: Tampa Bay Helps Puerto Rico Recover

Update 9/28: 

ViVa Tampa Bay Hispanic Heritage Festival will take donations for Course of Action PR on Sunday, October 1st in Centennial Park. More details on this post.


Hurricane Maria smashed through Puerto Rico as a Category 4 storm yesterday and wrecked much of the island. It is the first Category 4 Hurricane to hit Puerto Rico since 1932 according to ABC. The entire country lost power and it could take weeks to months for the power grid to recover after already being hit by Hurricane Irma.

That means over 2 million people have no power in the United States commonwealth.

Puerto Rico is already in a delicate state and filed for bankruptcy earlier this year. This kind of infrastructure damage will no doubt complicate things for the people who live there. The minimum wage in Puerto Rico was reduced from $7.25 to $4.25 an hour as a part of this bankruptcy crisis due to a U.S. plan called PROMESA in 2016.

This will certainly impact the ability of people to recover from the damage caused by Hurricane Maria.

The Puerto Rican communities around Florida have mobilized to get supplies to send to the people in Puerto Rico impacted by the storm. Shipments of supplies are already being accepted in Puerto Rico starting today. Here is where you can donate supplies around Tampa Bay:

The Prestige Barbershop of Tampa Bay
(Monday to Saturday from 11AM to 7PM)
105 US-301 #109
Tampa, FL

Los Gorditos Bar & Grill
(Tuesday to Saturday from 12PM to 9PM)
6110 Causeway Blvd.
Tampa, FL

Los Gorditos Food Truck
3125 W. Hillsborough Ave.
Tampa, Fl

La Fondita de Leo in Clearwater 
(Monday to Sunday from 11AM to 9PM)
528 Cleveland Street
Clearwater, FL

El Rico Frappé Latino
(Monday to Sunday – Hours vary)
122 Pierce Christie Dr
33594 Valrico

Course of Action PR
(Monday to Saturday – 11AM-7PM)
4916 S Lois Avenue
Tampa, FL

Suggested donations:

• Water
• Canned milk (UHT or Carnation) or box milk
• Canned food
• Flash lights
• Candles
• Batteries (C,D,DD)
• Dog and Cat food (small bag)
• First-Aid items
• Mosquito repeal sprays (ex. OFF)
• Wipes
• Diaper
• Formula
• Baby food
• Bottles
• Cleaning items
• New underwear for men and women
• Blanket
• Towels
• Baby onesies

Local food truck The Cake Girl has setup a fund as well for people to donate to at: http://www.youcaring.com/hurricanevictimsinpuertorico-956986

Any tips on other places to donate? Shoot me an e-mail at carloseats[at]gmail[dot]com.