Monday, January 22, 2018
News Roundup

Serving up hope and turkey on Christmas

TAMPA — Cristina Manion worried about giving her four children a happy Christmas in a bad financial year with bills mounting and her husband out of work from an injury.

"We were lost about what to do for Christmas," Manion said. "It's important for our kids. We're just trying to get by with what we have. And it's tough."

The family was among up to 300 people Wednesday who attended the annual Metropolitan Ministries Christmas Day meal in a large tent near downtown Tampa. In a holiday season in which need was up while donations fell from the previous year's, the charity expected to feed 1,700 hot Christmas meals at 21 locations across Tampa Bay.

Tim Marks, president of Metropolitan, said the nonprofit group had to buy about 5,000 turkeys this year to cover a shortfall in donations, the most it has ever had to purchase. It was necessary because just 6,000 turkeys were donated this year, 3,000 fewer than in 2012.

"It was touch and go," Marks said. "But we weren't going to turn any family away."

So Manion watched her kids — Alvaro, 2, Armando Jr., 4, Arianna, 1, and Briella, 5 — wolf down a holiday feast with all the trimmings. Her biggest worry was simply getting her kids to eat their vegetables.

"They're picky eaters," said Manion, 26. "But they're kids."

And a little later, they would get cake or pie for dessert and some toys from the charity.

Reginald Landers, 65, sat alone at a table. Divorced and homeless for years, he said the hardest thing about a holiday is not being able to share it with family.

"My first emotion is sadness because this is a family day," he said. "I have to fight my tears back."

But Landers said the camaraderie among those in need is strong, too. "It's a blessing from God," he said.

Bryan Koonce, 47, called the meal a "joyous occasion." Holiday music echoed through the tent. A poinsettia decorated his table.

Koonce was trying to pace himself. This would be the first of two Christmas meals for him.

"I'm going to my own family when I leave here," he said. "I'm just hanging out trying to do my own thing first."

Alfred Astl, the chef at the Trinity Cafe in Tampa, served the needy a Christmas breakfast attended by several hundred people.

"I was in the hotel business for 40 years," Astl said. "And you get all the kudos from the people who can afford it, which is great. But when you get thanked by the homeless, it's a whole different feeling. You're thankful that, at the least, they will have a nice hot meal on Christmas."

William R. Levesque can be reached at [email protected]

Comments
Crisco, dune buggy and a face-plant: Fired-up Philly fans take to the streets

Crisco, dune buggy and a face-plant: Fired-up Philly fans take to the streets

PHILADELPHIA — Not even a coat of Crisco on light poles across the city could keep Philadelphia Eagles fans from scaling new heights in celebrating their team’s first Super Bowl appearance in 13 years and setting up a rematch with the AFC champion N...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Hooper: Deal with sea-level rise or prepare to be inundated

When fans again flock to Tampa’s Bayshore Boulevard for the annual Gasparilla Festival on Saturday, I hope they ask a question: Will the floats need flotation devices in 2035?Erika Spanger-Siegfried, Astrid Caldas and Kate Cell, members of the Union ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Forecast: Warm weather remains, but cold front will bring rain to Tampa Bay

Forecast: Warm weather remains, but cold front will bring rain to Tampa Bay

A warm weekend across Tampa Bay will carry over into the start of the workweek, after some morning fog burns off and before a front results in clouds and increased rain chances later this afternoon.10News WTSPFeels-like temperatures around the Tampa...
Updated: 2 hours ago

The Daystarter: PolitiFact Florida analyzes prison costs; breaking down the Super Bowl matchup; free dental clinic services in high demand; Arrrrr you ready for Gasparilla?

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.• We’ll have a mild and sunny start to the week, with highs in the upper 70s, according to 10Weather WTSP. A weak cold front brings a chance of rain on Tuesday and slightly coo...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Police: 2 IEDs detonated at a Florida mall, no injuries

LAKE WALES — Police say two improvised explosive devices ignited inside a mall in central Florida on Sunday do not appear to be an act of terrorism.Lake Wales police Deputy Chief Troy Schulze tells news outlets that at 5:22 p.m., the Lake Wales Fire ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
PolitiFact Florida: Claims about prison price-gouging decry $17 soup, $18 tampons

PolitiFact Florida: Claims about prison price-gouging decry $17 soup, $18 tampons

Advocates of Florida prisoners protested outside of the Florida Department of Corrections in Tallahassee on Tuesday, demanding answers to questions of alleged price-gouging in prisons across the state.Protesters from dozens of grass roots organizatio...
Published: 01/22/18
Add swagger to Lightning’s loss column

Add swagger to Lightning’s loss column

CHICAGO — It didn’t take the sound of a door slamming in the visitor’s dressing room Saturday night to sense this Lightning team is frustrated.Tampa Bay believed it had worked hard against the Wild — at least, harder than it did in Thursday’s letharg...
Updated: 9 hours ago

nationResearchers work to avoid another 1918 super-flu The descriptions are haunting. Some victims felt fine in the morning and were dead by night. Faces turned blue as patients coughed up blood. Stacked bodies outnumbered coffins. A century after on...
Updated: 10 hours ago

Hillsborough diver who died in Eagle’s Nest Cave was adventurous but experienced

Davin Brannon was a pilot, a spearfisherman, an avid cave and open-water diver and an experienced all-around adventurer, said those close to him ."I guess you could say he died doing what he loved," his cousin Pam Kirven said. "But I also know he’d n...
Updated: 10 hours ago
‘Three Billboards’ sweeps female-focused SAG Awards

‘Three Billboards’ sweeps female-focused SAG Awards

LOS ANGELES — The Western-inspired revenge tale Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri swept the female-focused and led Screen Actors Guild Awards Sunday with wins for best ensemble, best actress for Frances McDormand and best supporting actor for...
Updated: 10 hours ago