Metropolitan Ministries mobilizes Hurricane Ian relief efforts

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The food and water supplies will be extended to areas most affected by the storm.

Tampa’s Metropolitan Ministries is ready to mobilize hurricane relief efforts as Hurricane Ian pummels Southwest Florida.

After Hurricane Irma in 2017, the nonprofit installed a $500,000 generator to sustain power for its family support services and hunger relief programs. The generator allows the organization to operate during power outages and serve the community’s needs.

Metropolitan Ministries has prepared its family support centers and gymnasium to be open for emergency services following the storm, should it be needed. Services will start Friday at 9 a.m., providing nonperishable food boxes, bottled water and power for phone charging. Food distribution services will continue through the weekend.

Four semi-trucks loaded with food and water arrived Tuesday, along with the full force of Chef José Andrés and his World Central Kitchen team. That team hopes to prepare 15,000 hot meals and 10,000 cold meals every day as needed using Metropolitan Ministries’ commercial kitchen as their main distribution hub.

The food and water supplies will be extended to areas most affected by the storm.

Help navigating shelter, housing assistance, financial assistance and other resources will resume next week. The Metro BrigAIDe mobile outreach teams will be visiting hurricane shelters post-storm to provide support for those exiting with no place to go.

Interested in helping? Individuals can sign up to volunteer at www.metromin.org, donate nonperishable food items and bottled water and donate to the Hurricane Relief Fund.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Hillsborough County officials are urging residents not to relocate to a Hillsborough County emergency shelter or any other location. There are more than 6,500 individuals in shelters across Hillsborough County. In neighboring Pinellas, officials order residents to shelter in place, emphasizing that breaks in the weather do not mean the storm has passed. There are about 4,500 residents in Pinellas County public shelters.

Nearly 90,000 are without power in Tampa Bay as of Wednesday afternoon.

Hurricane Ian is projected to hit just south of Tampa Bay, with the Naples to Sarasota region at “highest risk” of a devastating storm surge. Tampa Mayor Jane Castor told reporters Wednesday morning she spoke with Mayors of Fort Myers, Sarasota, Punta Gorda and Naples to offer resources for communities impacted by the storm, which was previously expected to directly pummel the Tampa Bay area earlier this week.

Kelly Hayes

Kelly Hayes studied journalism and political science at the University of Florida. Kelly was born and raised in Tampa Bay. A recent graduate, she enjoys government and legal reporting. She has experience covering the Florida Legislature as well as local government, and is a proud Alligator alum. You can reach Kelly at [email protected]


One comment

  • Tom

    September 28, 2022 at 3:44 pm

    I just caught a 190 lb Tarpon off the coast of Ft Meyers. If you guy’s got boats I’m telling you it’s not that bad and safer than being on land. Also just epic fishing… world records can be had. Don’t let fake news ruin the best fishing you’ll ever experience. Go…go now.

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