Local charities look to make last push as Christmas nears

Volunteer Myra Noojin, 27, of Tampa, organizes the donations at the Metropolitan Ministries Holiday Tent earlier this year. The organization is currently seeking an infusion of toys to help meet Christmas needs. ALESSANDRA DA PRA   |   Times
Volunteer Myra Noojin, 27, of Tampa, organizes the donations at the Metropolitan Ministries Holiday Tent earlier this year. The organization is currently seeking an infusion of toys to help meet Christmas needs. ALESSANDRA DA PRA | Times
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Updated

TAMPA — If you’ve got some room on your gift list this year, consider buying gifts for teenagers in need.

Local charities say they’re experiencing a shortage of gifts for young people ages 13 to 17.

Metropolitan Ministries spokeswoman Ariel Gibbs said the shortage was discovered during an inventory check for the organization’s annual Holiday Tent, where more than 11,000 children are registered to receive 22,000 toys and gifts.

There also aren’t enough gifts for girls ages 3 to 12.

To remedy that, officials are calling on the community to help stock shelves over the next few days, Gibbs said.

"We know this community is strong," she said. "They’re giving people. We all just come together for one cause and that’s to help our neighbors."

Headphones, sports equipment, watches, and beauty items make for great gifts for teens, Gibbs said.

Early learning toys and dolls are popular with young girls, she said.

"Whatever you would give your child, that’s exactly what we’re looking for," Gibbs said.

Teens also like gift cards for activities, like going to the movies or playing at entertainment centers, said Miracles Outreach operations manager Sonja Jordan.

Jordan said the group home for teen girls who are victims of human trafficking also is in need of unopened packages of underwear and socks and hygiene products.

Teens sometimes are left without gifts because it can be easier to shop for young boys and girls, she said.

"Most people want to buy for them," she said.

Family Promise of Greater Brandon currently has a healthy supply of toys and diapers, but additional donations are welcome, said case manager Kim Baker.

The nonprofit, which helps homeless families obtain permanent housing, is experiencing a shortage of gas cards and bus pass donations, she said.

Still, clients will have what they need most, she said.

"We have enough so that at least no one will go without," she said.

Contact Kenya Woodard at [email protected]

.HOLIDAY HELPING

Metropolitan Ministries: Send or drop off donations at 905 Governor St., in Tampa (at the intersection of Nebraska Avenue and Cass Street) or give online at metromin.org. Also, shop the online store at metromin.org/ourholidaystore.

Miracles Outreach: Send or drop off donations to 5718 N. 56th St., in Tampa or give online at miraclesoutreach.org.

Family Promise of Greater Brandon: Send or drop donations off at 121 Carver St., in Brandon or donate online at familypromisebrandon.org.

Holiday Giving Tree: Hillsborough County’s Aging Services department needs volunteers to sort and deliver items collected for homebound seniors through its Holiday Giving Tree program. Contact Veronica Maxwell at [email protected] or call (813) 853-2017.

Feeding the Less Fortunate: Women Helping Others of Tampa Bay will gather at 2 p.m. on Saturday at Borrell Park, 808 E 26th Ave. Sign up to help serve, donate a dish, toiletry or clothing at goo.gl/8qDE3Q.

Trinity Cafe: The cafe that serves the homeless and food insecure notes that its volunteer rolls are particularly light from Jan. 1 moving forward. Visit trinitycafe.org.

No Strings Attached: The grassroots effort that shows love to Tampa Bay residents in need by distributing clothing and toiletries every year on Christmas mornings and could use a hand. Visit nosacares.org.

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