The smell of pastries and coffee filtered through the air at Metropolitan MinistriesAnnual Bridge Builder Breakfast yesterday while the essence of hope flourished. Bustling with some of Tampa’s most involved community members, this year we had plenty of reasons to celebrate. Metropolitan Ministries’ quote of the year has been, “Hope can grow anywhere,” which is brought to life in the Miracle Place, their newest addition to their efforts in solving problems even in the most hopeless of situations.

Miracle Place provides a place for 50 new families to live and is home to a new preschool, partnership school for children from kindergarten through fifth grade; new after-school programs and extended dining facilities. The Tampa community has worked hard to build Miracle Place and it will enable Metropolitan Ministries to double their efforts in helping families and individuals in need of assistance and a fresh start.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UbdGXPjFv4I

We have come a long way, but the road has not come to an end just yet. The building is built, but the rooms are all empty so Metropolitan Ministries is now turning to the community looking for donations to help furnish the rooms, making them feel like home to those that will live in them. With 50 new units to furnish and doubled operating costs, Metropolitan has a lot of work to do, so we called in the troops… or should we say, the Bucs?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano was kind enough to come speak at this year’s Bridge Builder’s Breakfast. He shared some insight on the sense of leadership he hopes to instill in his players and the franchise through their involvement with Metropolitan Ministries including; trust, believe, accountability and leadership. He also referenced a band he wears on his wrist that reads FAMILY, standing for Forget About Me I Love You. This is a mantra he has to remind himself of and teach to his team daily, but he said that is what Metropolitan Ministries does all day, everyday.  “Schiano’s level of passion as a volunteer and advocate for Metro is palpable, it is inspiring to see,” says Chris Christenberry, who serves on the organization’s Board of Directors.

The event was complete with success stories from some of Metropolitan Ministries clients coming to speak.  One man shared a story about the business he owned only a few short years ago until it crashed with the unlucky economy. His story was inspiring and humbling, reminding attendees that anyone can fall on hard times.

In the next year, we hope to see more of the community get involved with Metropolitan’s amazing efforts. The homelessness population grows in triple-digits each year in the Bay Area, which means that we have our work set out for us!

Chris Christenberry is Atlantic Health Solutions’ president and he serves on the Board of Directors at Metropolitan Ministries. Due to his involvement in the organization, Chris has lead Atlantic’s staff to appreciate the work and efforts of Metropolitan Ministries. It is our in-house philanthropy of sorts and we are proud to be such active volunteers.

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