Giving Back During the Holidays

A great way to spread holiday cheer and celebrate this special holiday is by helping out the Tampa Bay community.

There are many organizations around the area that are giving away food and gifts to help every child feel the season of joy.

The Metropolitan Ministries is collecting food and toys for those in need. The holiday tent goes up in Downtown Tampa from Thanksgiving Day and runs through Christmas. Donors, sponsors, and 10,000 volunteers come together to help over 24,000 households over the season.

Their mission is to care for the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless in their community through services that alleviate suffering, promote dignity and instill self-sufficiency.

“Bringing the community together as well as giving and receiving to be able to enhance the ability for all of us to come together as a community,” said James Dunbar, director of outreach at Metropolitan Ministries.

You can go on their website to find out where you can donate around the Tampa Bay area, what service they provide and how to volunteer.

The community is also participating in the Marine Toys for Tots program. Last year the program distributed over 18 million toys to seven million less fortunate children.

Marine Toys for Tots mission is to bring a smile on children’s faces and to know the appreciation of the parents can bring a tremendous difference to a child’s life by just a simple gift of a new toy.

Toys for Tots collects unwrapped toys at select drop off locations in the Tampa Bay area. You can find a local campaign location and how to donate on their website at

For one location the holidays are a time for wishes. Macy’s has partnered with the Make-A-Wish Foundation to help children with medical conditions. The children write a letter to Santa and send it in through the Santa mailbox at Macy’s.

Every time you write a letter Macy’s donates one dollar to the Make-A-Wish Foundation up to one million dollars.

Make-A-Wish Foundation has a mission to grant a wish to every child that is diagnosed with a critical illness. They believe a wish experience is a game-changer. These wishes can change the lives of the kids the Make-A-Wish Foundation serves.

You can go to to grant a wish, donate to the foundation or how to volunteer.

The American Red Cross also needs help this holiday season. They are helping the victims of Hurricane Michael and the California wildfires.

Their mission is to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.

You can donate by text, REDCROSS to 90999 to give 10 dollars to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. You can also donate by phone at 1-800-HELP NOW (1-800-435-7669 or by mail, PO BOX 37839 Boone, IA 50037-0839. To learn more about other ways to donate visit

Whether you are donating food, toys or helping a critically ill child there are lots of ways to help this holiday season.