Metropolitan Ministries Holiday Tent Family Volunteer

How Your Family Can Give the Gift of HOPE at the Metropolitan Ministries Holiday Tent

Every holiday season, 36,500 square feet of hope rises from the ground along North Rome Avenue in Tampa in the form of the Metropolitan Ministries Holiday Tent. Since 1995, it’s been a place where people of all ages who are called to serve give back and it serves as a beacon of hope for struggling families in Tampa Bay.

This year, the nonprofit that has been uplifting local families for 51 years is experiencing an increase in need for services due to inflation, the rising cost of housing, and lingering impacts from the pandemic. And YOU can help them meet that need and make all the difference in the world to a family this holiday season.

The Need:

Metropolitan Ministries has seen a 71% increase in families facing homelessness this year compared to last year. Many of those families are two-parent working households that are simply struggling to make ends meet as the cost of living soars in Tampa Bay. The organization has also seen a 15% increase in seniors on fixed incomes who are skipping meals and medical care in order to pay rent.

Unfortunately, for the same reasons, donations are down by 30%.

The nonprofit expects to serve 32,000+ families this holiday season, which includes 60,000+ children. But they can’t do it without you.

How Your Family Can Volunteer at the Metropolitan Ministries Holiday Tent

You can support the Holiday Tent in many ways, whether you give the gift of your time, donations, and/or make a financial contribution.

This is a time of year when many families ask how they can volunteer together with the kids and this is a perfect opportunity. Kids as young as 8 can volunteer with their parents in many volunteer roles in the holiday tents including sorting food and toy donations, stocking shelves, and building food boxes for families. It’s truly a unique way for your family to not only volunteer together but witness the true impact of your gift of time.

“It was important for my kids to be involved in volunteering and giving back,” said Tim Marks, CEO of Metropolitan Ministries. “Sometimes we don’t realize the struggle others have. These are great lessons for kids to learn first hand. This is very real and very tangible and after 2-3 hours [of volunteering], I hear over and over, that was the best time. My son or daughter haven’t stopped talking about this opportunity to give back and they can’t wait to do it again.”

There is also a significant need for English/Spanish speaking volunteers–they estimate they need about 600 bilingual volunteers this year.

To sign up, simply visit  Metropolitan Ministries’ Holiday Central page and choose the location you’d like to sign up for under the Volunteering section.

If your kids are still too young volunteer at the tent, consider taking them shopping to pick up some of the most needed food items and gifts for kids like them.  It’s a great time to take advantage of BOGO deals to! Make sure to bring your kids with you when you drop off the donations at the Holiday Tent so they can see the power of community at work.

IMPACT: Your Time Matters

Each year, 15,000 volunteers serve in the Holiday Tents and 10 other pop-up sites, giving over 150,000 hours of their time. That’s the equivalent of $4.5 million in labor costs. Your time absolutely matters.

“There’s nothing more imporant than sharing hope with one another. There’s a lot of things we can maybe not agree on, but this idea of lifting others up, sharing hope, it does so much for the giver as it does the reciever and that’s what’s unique about this Holiday Tent,” Marks told us.

In addition to volunteer hours, 30 community partners pick up food and toys and distribute the items to communities.

volunteers sorting food donations at Holiday Tent
Volunteers sorting food donations at Holiday Tent. Kids as young as 8 can volunteer with their families in the Holiday Tent.

The Most Needed Items at the Holiday Tent:

  • frozen turkeys and hams
  • canned yams
  • stuffing
  • canned vegetables
  • boxed potatoes
  • cranberry sauce
  • gravy
  • cereal
  • rice
  • beans
  • macaroni and cheese
  • dessert mixes
  • gift cards
  • toys/gifts for children ages 4-17

You can also shop the virtual store:

Metropolitan Ministries Holiday Tent Locations:

There are three Holiday Tent locations in the Tampa Bay area, including the main hub on Rome Avenue in Tampa. You can drop-off donations at the tents and volunteer your time at each location.

First Day donations at Holiday Tent horizontal photo
First donations at the Holiday Tent for the 2023 season from the Sunset Garden Club in Tampa.

Metropolitan Ministries Holiday Tent Main Hub-Hillsborough
2609 N. Rome Ave.
Tampa, FL 33607

Metropolitan Ministries Holiday Tent-West Pasco
Generations Christian Church
1540 Little Road
Trinity, FL 34655

Metropolitan Ministries Holiday Tent-East Pasco
Premier Community HealthCare
14108 5th St
Dade City, FL 33525

Map of Metropolitan Ministries Holiday Tent locations in Tampa Bay

Other donation drop-off sites:

Northern Hillsborough
St. James United Methodist Church
16202 Bruce B Downs Blvd.
Tampa, FL 33647

Central Pasco
Keystone Community Church
21010 State Road 54
Lutz, FL 33558

Metropolitan Ministries on the Significance of HOPE: 

“This little word plays a big role in our lives. We hear it from our clients time and again—”You gave me hope to go on another day.” Hope can be the difference between giving up and holding on. Hope can be the thing that keeps us going. Hope can be the feeling that helps us believe and work for a better life. HOPE reminds us that this season of pain isn’t forever.

It’s not about the food, or the toy, or any other commodity. It’s the comfort in knowing that somebody cares for and believes in you. And that is what Metropolitan Ministries is all about.”

Learn more about donating, volunteering, and even how to get help if you need it by visiting or calling 813-209-1000.

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