Tampa nonprofit groups lose power during Irma, continue rendering aid

By Katie Jones, Reporter
Last Updated: Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 9:46 AM EDT

Two Bay area organizations, left in the dark after Hurricane Irma, haven’t stopped helping even after their electricity went out.

  • Both groups lost power at facilities in Pasco
  • Salvation Army set up mobile canteen at Metropolitan Ministries
  • Both groups in desperate need of supplies

Jesse and Christina Maxwell recently moved to the Bay area from Texas, and were in the process of finding a place to live when the storm moved in.

"Very stressful," Christina said. "We're trying to stick together, just trying to play games in cars -- 'I Spy' has become the big thing."

The family evacuated to a storm shelter in Pasco County, but when it closed, they had nowhere to go until they found Metropolitan Ministries. Their shelter is currently at capacity, as well, and just down the road, the Salvation Army has also been packed since Hurricane Irma.

To make things more difficult, both organizations lost power during the storm. To continue to respond to people's needs, the Salvation Army set up a mobile canteen at Metropolitan Ministries to make sure everyone has something to eat.

"Even though it's a beautiful blue sky day here, we're aware that some people are still struggling, particularly the most vulnerable of our community, the homeless," Salvation Army Tampa Area Commander Captain Andy Miller said. "So we have a great opportunity to come alongside them and serve them in this moment in need."

Leaders from both organizations said the need will go on long after the storm passes, so they will be there, rain or shine, in light and in darkness.

"It's been a challenge, but that's what we're called to do we're called to meet the needs in our community," Metropolitan Ministries President Tim Marks said. "This is what our community would expect from us. Just like our public officials were there for us during the storm, we need to be there."

Both Metropolitan Ministries and The Salvation Army are in serious need of supplies and donations. If you’d like to help, call 1-800-SAL-ARMY or www.helpsalvationarmy.org and http://www.metromin.org/ways-to-give/.