Metropolitan Ministries is temporarily suspending financial assistance for coronavirus-related relief citing “staggering demand,” according to a release from the organization.
The non-profit made the “heart-wrenching” decision after more than 1,700 requests rolled in, mostly for rental assistance. The agency hasn’t even gotten to nearly 500 of the requests.
It’s pausing assistance until April 15 to catch up to demand.
Metropolitan Ministries said it will cost $1.5 million to fill the existing requests.
The pause comes as the organization is in the midst of a $1 million fundraising campaign to provide emergency relief to those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic crisis.
Former House Speaker Will Weatherford and his wife, Courtney, are spearheading that effort.
The agency will continue to provide other core services including serving 3,000 meals a day and providing shelter for 140 families in its facilities. Another 150 at-risk families continue to receive case management services.
The fundraising campaign will raise funds for rental and utility assistance, which account for all of the agency’s current backlog.
The group had been scheduled to host its annual fundraising event, Bridge Builders, last week, but had to cancel due to social distancing guidelines associated with the pandemic.
Still, the group’s fundraising efforts are perhaps more important that ever, yet charitable contributions have been down 25%, according to Weatherford.
So far, the agency has received “triple match” contributions from the Triad Foundation, Analgesic Healthcare and an anonymous donor who pledged $50,000 each to match individual contributions.
That means every contribution through April 12 will be matched in triplicate.
All donations will go to the organization’s COVID-19 Emergency Impact Fund and can me made at the group’s website.
Donors can also drop off non-perishable food donations and hygienic products at the Metropolitan Ministries main campus located at 2101 N. Florida Ave. in Tampa Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.