Jenny was on the run for her life. Before Jenny realized it . . . her home — her place of shelter and safety — had turned into a war zone. Night after night, her husband would spit his poisonous venom, landing blow after blow after blow. Jenny was more than just physically broken — her life was in danger!
Thank God that she found the courage to fight back and leave her abusive husband. But the moment she walked out, Jenny was forced to fight an even greater battle — homelessness, hunger and life on the run with a newborn baby boy.
Jenny then found out about Metropolitan Ministries and she was welcomed with open arms — giving them a nutritious meal and safe place to rest. And for the first time in a long time, Jenny began to hope. She began to believe that her life could be different . . . her life could be better.
Today, you wouldn’t recognize her! She is a supervisor at Metropolitan Ministries and is grateful for people like you who helped make her transformation possible. She says: “Me and my baby boy, Jonathan, owe you our lives. THANK YOU!”
Many families come to Metropolitan Ministries with similar stories and struggles. It is only because of people like you that we are able to care for them and help them become self-sufficient once again.
Bryan’s all grown up now. But when he was 11, he and his dad came to Metropolitan Ministries after spending three nights in a laundromat. “We were just trying to stay warm,” he says, recalling the days when life seemed so chaotic. During his stay here, Bryan received school supplies and shoes, along with food and shelter. But what he remembers most was feeling safe — and loved! Kids need assurance that everything’s going to be okay,” he says.
Terry was without her three children, which were taken from her after her husband had performed an unspeakable act on their 2-year-old daughter. Christmas was right around the corner and Terry was running long on desperation and short on hope.
She desperately wanted her children back, but Terry had no desire to return to the place she once called home. She turned to Metropolitan Ministries for help.
At first, Terry didn’t qualify for the type of help that Metropolitan Ministries could provide her because she didn’t have her children. She didn’t have her children because she had no place to keep them. Metropolitan Ministries helped rectify that situation, assisting Terry with getting them back, while providing her and the children a place to live.
I got them back with a place to keep them where we could all be together,” Terry said. “Metropolitan Ministries provided me with everything I needed. I didn’t have to go back to that house for anything. They provided everything that was missing.”
That included direction, assistance, hope, respect and most importantly her children. Metropolitan Ministries even provided Terry’s kids with a bag of toys so they wouldn’t be empty handed during the Christmas season.
“It was never like a handout, I was always treated with respect,” Terry said. “I felt like a human being with a little need, and there was someone there to provide it.”
James, a husband and father of a 17 year old son, feeling lost and hopeless, attempted to take his own life. The bills piled up, and at risk of being evicted for unpaid rent... he simply felt he had no way out. His wife turned to Metropolitan Ministries in Pasco for emotional support and guidance. We helped by taking care of some of their immediate needs and develop a plan for them to take back control of their lives. She was grateful for the encouragement and having someone to talk to. “This is the only word of hope I’ve had all day,” she said. It is only through the support of this caring Tampa Bay community that we are able to help families who come to us, scared and lonely, with nowhere else to turn.
At the Holiday Tent, the first women in line, Carla, had been out of work with a health issue of blood clots in her legs. She just found work again but she wouldn't get her first paycheck for two weeks…no Thanksgiving or Christmas meal for her family without the support she needed. She is so grateful for the love shown to her by our community!
All Becky wanted was a second chance after she lost her job as a nurse at a St. Petersburg rehabilitation center. These days, second chances are hard to come by. But being homeless with two kids turned out to be a nightmare. “All I could think about was making sure my kids got something to eat,” she said.
Many nights they stayed at McDonald’s until closing. Then she’d either take refuge in a nearby laundromat or find an abandoned building where they could get out of the rain. Until a room opened up at Metropolitan Ministries, they stayed in a local boarding home. But the place was crawling with bedbugs and cockroaches, which “always came back no matter how hard I cleaned.” Toward the end, they slept scrunched together in one twin-sized bed. You can imagine the relief when a spot at Metropolitan Ministries opened up.
“It was wonderful,” Becky recalls. “And the kids enjoyed being on a bed where they didn’t get bit in the middle of the night,” she adds. Thanks to your gifts, Becky is now a full-time student in the premed program at Hillsborough Community College. Her plan is to transfer to the University of South Florida, where she’s already qualified for a Pell Grant that covers the cost of tuition and lab fees as long as she lives here. Eventually, she wants to become a doctor, specializing in obstetrics/gynecology. “Troubles from my past are just stepping stones to where I’m going,” she says, reflecting on her days on the streets. “Sometimes, you have to go through the worst to get something better.”
Becky and her kids are no longer struggling from day to day. They’re thriving, thanks to your kindness. That’s the kind of impact you make every time you give!
A room of our own. It’s something a lot of us take for granted. For 8-year-old Billy and 6-year-old Leroy, a room was all they wanted.
Living with family friends, on the streets or in the back seat of a car comprised the only room that the brothers knew for a period of time. That all changed when they arrived at Metropolitan Ministries.
Not only did the move provide a room for the two boys and their mother, but it also provided stability and an opportunity for the trio to step onto a path of sustainability that they will be able to follow long after they leave the Ministries.
“I like it here because we have friends, places to go, a park and somewhere to live without being on the streets,” Leroy said. “I’m thankful for this room.”
Living underneath a bridge in Miami, Antron’s life was headed toward total brokenness. He was selling drugs and committing crimes just to survive.
After a stint in drug rehab, Antron met Bethany, a Tampa native who was living in Miami and had fallen on some hard times of her own. Bethany offered him a ticket out of Miami by way of Tampa. The move would change Antron’s life forever.
A visit to the Metropolitan Ministries Holiday Tent led to a job for Antron and a diligent lifestyle in which he took care of the little things so that God would reward him with greater responsibilities.
“I never knew I was being setup for this,” Antron said. “I never knew God would put me at the Miami Rescue Mission to go through a drug rehab, to bring me to Tampa two or three years later, focused, with a purpose and a driven mission.”
David wants to make one thing clear: “Metropolitan Ministries is my happy ending,” he said.
Things weren’t always happy for David, who grew up with an abusive stepfather and learned to become comfortable in the darkness. That darkness led him to the brink of taking his own life twice.
“I really felt like I was the reason our family was a train wreck,” David said.
That darkness carried David to a life in which he was living in his own car.
Then the light came, and one of the reasons for that light was finding a place at Metropolitan Ministries as the organization’s associate director of operations and safety.
“One thing we do here at Metropolitan Ministries is bring hope where there is hopelessness, and there’s nothing better than that,” David said.
Rose was in an abusive relationship, and after one particularly bad fight, Rose’s daughter was bleeding from broken glass. It was that moment Rose knew she had to leave no matter what it took.
Having no family in the Tampa area and having no source of shelter, Rose felt hopeless and scared for her daughter. That is when she came across Metropolitan Ministries and her life changed for the better.
Rose then felt a sense of hope when arriving at Metropolitan Ministries. She started taking classes on campus and regained strength and courage. She then was able to go back to school, enrolling in a nursing program, which she always wanted to do.
“They got me a place where my daughter can stay, so when I went out to apply for school, I knew my daughter was in a safe environment,” Rose said.
“Without Metropolitan Ministries, I don’t know where I would be, I’d probably be out on the streets with my daughter.”
Two stories of two incredible women, Siriya and Melanie, show the struggle and success through their times at Metropolitan Ministries.
After receiving permanent custody of her godson, Siriya struggled to support him due to the loss of her job. She then found Metropolitan Ministries and her life changed for the better. She was able to provide a fantastic holiday season for her godson with a sense of love and family. She received guidance on how to move on and achieve self-sufficiency. A few years after coming to Metropolitan Ministries, Siriya started working for the outreach department.
Melanie was a young mother, struggling to support her newborn daughter after getting fired from her job. Hope was nowhere to be found. Melanie was at a crossroads and she didn’t know where to turn. She even thought about begging on the street for food and diapers just so her daughter could eat and stay healthy. Metropolitan Ministries made a transition for Melanie and her daughter, and it was here where Melanie’s daughter spoke her first words.
Two paths crossed when Melanie and her daughter arrived at Metropolitan Ministries, where Siriya was working. The two formed a friendship built on their similar experiences.
With no shelter and nowhere to turn, Justine was homeless, hopeless and contemplating suicide. After weeks of staying in different hotels and local parks, she was desperate to put a roof over her kids’ heads.
Metropolitan Ministries came to her rescue and offered the hope Justine was so desperately seeking.
“I can’t stop thanking Metropolitan Ministries, they really saved my life,” Justine said.
After having to endure molestation, Jessica was pregnant at the age of 13 with her stepfather’s child. She was in a tough spot and was afraid to tell her mother.
Soon Jessica’s problems would get worse.
A home invasion left her mother and brother dead, and her with three gunshot wounds. Jessica was young with no family – except her three kids – and recovering from a severe injury. For weeks she moved around from motels to friends’ houses.
Drugs and alcohol were separating Jessica from her children, but hope was only around the corner. Even though Jessica’s life changed for the better, the trauma still lives with her every day, as she still grieves for the loss of her loved ones. “I keep replaying it in my head, like what happened, why it happened… it doesn’t make sense.”
After living a hard childhood, Dennis continued to suffer as an adult, living in and out of shelters. After being laid off from his job, Dennis and his family themselves living in the family car. Seeking food and shelter, they came to Metropolitan Ministries.
Dennis and his wife travel a good distance every day to Biztech, one of Metropolitan Ministries’ partnering schools. They can attend classes at Biztech to help them with their career path while their son has a place to stay and attend school.
“To go straight from being in the scenario I was in, living in my car or even Metropolitan Ministries, and having a second chance in life means how much my life has changed,” Dennis said.
Dennis soon plans to start his new career and set money aside for his son in the future.
A young 6-year-old Waly was hopeless. Living in an abusive home, she was in need of help. Her mother was being physically abused by Waly’s father day after day until she finally decided enough was enough. With no money, car or shelter they came to find Metropolitan Ministries, hoping that they could receive any help they could get.
The volunteers and people that support Metropolitan Ministries were a huge part of Waly’s success. Now a young adult headed to college, Waly reminisces on her love and experiences at Metropolitan Ministries.
“If there had been no shelter to go to, I don’t know maybe we would be out in the streets right now” Waly said. “Volunteers help here, the people who donate money and clothes, it’s all one big team. I think they should be recognized for it.”