Just in time for the new school year, hope is in the syllabus for students who will receive donated school supplies from Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas team members through Metropolitan Ministries.
The utility’s Credit & Collections team solicited donations from throughout the company for the Backpacks of Hope program, which helps prepare disadvantaged students for school. Binders, pencils, paper, you name it – including backpacks, of course – will go to students from elementary to high school who struggle to acquire the things they need for their education.
“It was great to see other departments at TECO help us with another Backpacks of Hope drive,” said Lori O’Keefe, supervisor of Credit & Collections. “We have a lot of amazing people to thank. I’m also looking forward to the next drive for TECO team members starting this week and hope we can get even more departments involved.”
Karl Celestine, director of Outreach Services at Metropolitan Ministries, added thanks of his own to TECO (“One of my favorite organizations,” he said).
“Your donations make a huge difference,” Celestine told O’Keefe and Gerri Drummond – coordinator of Credit & Collections – who delivered to the charity’s Tampa location at 2301 N. Tampa Street. “We let the kids pick out the backpacks they want. It’s all about helping people walk out of here with a lot more hope than they had when they walked in.”
Celestine said the longstanding connection between TECO and Metropolitan Ministries goes beyond donations.
“We’re doing more with TECO lately because we’re seeing more people who need help paying for their utilities,” he said, adding that this type of assistance is just one of the many services the organization provides. He cited the Metropolitan Ministries employment lab, food and clothing stores, a new partnership school and more as critical tools the organization offers to help the homeless and those otherwise struggling to get by.
“At any given time, we have 100 families at our Tampa campus alone,” he said. “Everyone who comes through here is in crisis mode. But our goal is to help everyone become self-sufficient – and with dignity.”
For anyone interested in donating to Metropolitan Ministries, it’s always eager to accept the following items that are in constant demand:
- Canned fruit
- Shaving cream