Nonprofits in Bay area seek to continue service as storm approaches

Published September 6 2017

TAMPA — While the threat of Hurricane Irma has closed classrooms and canceled events, some social service nonprofits remain committed to providing for clients.

But they could use a little help.

Trinity Cafe, which serves more than 400 meals at two locations in Tampa, sent a call for volunteers to maintain lunch service Thursday and Friday and breakfast on Saturday and Sunday. The cafe stated in a news release that it intends to operate daily "as long as it is safe for staff, volunteers and guests."

"We are also positioned to assist with meals in times of disaster response," the announcement said. "We welcome volunteers continuing to serve with us daily with safety being our primary concern. We will communicate any cancellation of service with our volunteers via email and phone; otherwise, we will be open and rely on our volunteers to serve."

The cafe operates at 2801 N Nebraska Ave. and 2202 E Busch Blvd. Volunteers can sign up at

Meanwhile, Meals on Wheels of Tampa will not deliver meals on Monday, but has crafted a contingency plan. It's asking Thursday volunteers to deliver regular meals as well as two other items: a frozen meal labeled "Monday, Sept 11" and a two-day nonperishable emergency meal kit.

People who don't get Thursday meals will get the Monday meal and the shelf stable meal on Friday.

Metropolitan Ministries also has a contingency plan, with the care of 136 children and 250 families residing at its residential facility in Tampa Heights standing as a priority. The nonprofit also will look to maintain operations at its Outreach Centers at its Tampa and Holiday campuses through Friday, and will maintain normal operations and services and monitor additional needs over the weekend.

MetMin also will continue its hot meal program distribution around Tampa Bay with 28 meal site partners through Saturday, weather permitting.

In East Hillsborough, ECHO of Brandon will be open for services on Thursday from 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. but will be closed Friday in preparation for Hurricane Irma. It also postponed its ECHO After Dark fundraiser, scheduled for Thursday. The event will now be held on Oct. 5.