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Westchase’s 11th Annual Thanksgiving Food Drive Nov. 18

This year marks the eleventh Westchase Thanksgiving Food Drive and we need your help to break all records!

Last November a record 1,335 Westchase homes participated, donating a total of 678 turkeys (including a generous corporate match). In total, last year we filled three trucks with an estimated 42,125 pounds of food and $752.50 in gift cards and other checks to Metropolitan Ministries.

This year WOW will bring the food drive to several hundred more homes in Westchester and West Hampton after expanding it last year to the generous folks living in Highland Park, Mandolin, Windsor Place and Westwood Lakes.

To enhance participation, WOW is offering a prize of $250 for a holiday block party for the top performing neighborhoods. This year two neighborhoods with the highest percentage of homes donating frozen turkeys will win $250 for a holiday block party. One prize will be offered in Westchase and another in the top subdivision that receives WOW Northwest.

WOW is also offering $200 for a holiday block party to the Westchase and Northwest neighborhoods that show the greatest improvement in overall participation in the food drive over last year. (See the neighborhood table from last year for results and organize your neighbors to participate.)

Business Matchers

To further encourage residents to participate, a number of generous businesses have committed to making corporate matches. They will match portions of your contributions so you can have an even bigger impact.

Who is participating?

Our longest committed corporate matchers, Josh Butts of Cornerstone Insurance and The Wood Team of Smith & Associates are both returning. Cornerstone Insurance has committed to donate one turkey for every four donated. The Wood Team has committed to matching one can of food for every home that participates in the drive.

Also returning this year are Clinical Psychologist Dr. Maria Aranda and Pediatrician Dr. Christine Armstrong of Children’s Medical Center of Westchase. Both have committed to matching one can for every turkey donated by residents.

Maria Kletchka of Keller Williams Tampa Properties will donate one can of food (up to $500) for every turkey donated.

How to Help?

To join the community effort, simply purchase as many of the food items as you wish from the list running with this article and place them out on your driveway at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 19 (West Park Village and Highland Park residents, however, are asked to place donations out by their mailboxes at the curb rather than in the neighborhood’s alleys).

Whether you can afford only a few cans or an entire meal (see our Box of Hope inset for the list), we welcome your participation. If you are donating from your pantry, please check expiration dates before placing items out for donation. As part of the drive, food is sorted and expired items have to be discarded.

The weekend prior to the drive, volunteers will leave a flyer with the list at your door so you can take it to the supermarket with you.

If you’re leaving town before Sunday, Nov. 18, you can still participate. You can drop your donations off early at 10314 Seabridge Way in The Bridges or at the The Wood Team’s Smith & Associates office in the Westchase Publix plaza.  You can also leave donations with a neighbor to set out on your driveway on Nov. 19. (No frozen turkeys can be dropped off early, however, since no freezer space is available). Please include your address and subdivision name with your donation so that your neighborhood receives credit.

WOW’s food drive volunteers will do the rest. Dozens will canvass neighborhoods and deliver reminder flyers over the weekend of Nov. 11-12.  On Sunday, Nov. 19, volunteers will then drive through your neighborhood to pick up donations.

If you are donating a frozen turkey, please place it out as close to the 1 p.m. pick-up as possible to help keep it frozen.

If you are interested in volunteering with the drive, simply e-mail WOW Editor Chris Barrett at editor@westchasewow.com. We especially need volunteers in the Westwood Lakes, West Hampton and Westchester neighborhoods.

WOW hopes even more residents and businesses participate in the food drive’s matching campaign. Simply e-mail WOW Publisher Chris Barrett at editor@westchasewow.com for information on how you can be a matching partner.

Metropolitan Ministries

A Tampa institution, Metropolitan Ministries is an ecumenical organization that assists Tampa’s community of homeless and hungry citizens in ways that instill both dignity and self-sufficiency. Established in 1972 by 13 churches of different denominations, Metropolitan Ministries now occupies a sizable campus on Florida Avenue and helps tens of thousands of Tampa Bay’s poorest families – and their children – each holiday season.

Who Is Matching Your Donation?

Josh Butts of Cornerstone Insurance: 1 additional turkey for every 4 donated turkeys
The Wood Team/Smith & Associates: 1 can for every Westchase home that participates
Clinical Psychologist Dr. Maria Aranda: 1 can for every donated turkey
Dr. Christine Armstrong of Children’s Medical Center of Westchase: 1 can for every donated turkey
Maria Kletchka of Keller Williams Tampa Properties: 1 can for every donated turkey (up to $500)

By Chris Barrett, Publisher; Photos by James Broome Photography

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