TAMPA, Fla. -- One year after Hurricane Irma hit the Bay area, leaders at one local nonprofit are reflecting on the help and hope they were able to bring during those dark days.
- Metropolitan Ministries helped 100 families during Irma
- The ministry served 8,000 hot meals to people in need
- Officials say they are prepared to help again
"It was scary," said Christine Long, chief programs officer at Metropolitan Ministries. "It was such a scary time because the storm came upon us so quickly."
This time last year, Long and staff were bracing for the hurricane to hit the Tampa Bay area. Once Irma passed and everyone was safe, they got to work.
"It got pretty crazy. We were out of power here at the ministries," Long said. "We had 100 families and 250 children on our campus that needed our care and support."
Metropolitan Ministries was without power for several days, but the Salvation Army brought in a mobile canteen. Staff at the ministry were able to serve 8,000 hot meals to people in need.
They also provided clothes, supplies, financial assistance and a place to stay. The shelter reached capacity so Long said they moved some families into hotels.
"We did not let us stop us because the folks were counting on us," Long said.
Long said most of the families they helped are back on their feet and many of them found work and homes in the Tampa Bay area.
"Giving people an opportunity to find that hope again, to help them feel like they're part of something important and part of this community that can make all the difference in the world," Long said.
Long said they're keeping their fingers crossed that big storms stay away, but if another hurricane hits, they're prepared to help again.