With the holiday season upon us and as the year comes to an end, many of us look forward to Thanksgiving feasts and assorted holiday treats. But, what about the thousands of hungry children and families in the Tampa Bay area who don't have food to put on the table or a even roof over their head?  Thanks to the fundraising efforts of the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa and the incredible work of Metropolitan Ministries, many more local families will be able to celebrate this holiday season. 

This past November, the casino raised money to support Metropolitan Ministries by donating 100 percent of the proceeds from sales of their limited edition Metropolitan Ministries blue sunglasses as well as proceeds from sales of the 2015 Seminole Hard Rock Girls Calendar.  The month-long fundraising efforts were celebrated on Friday, November 20th when the casino hosted a Play For A Cause Fundraising Event at the Hard Rock Cafe Tampa.  This fun filled evening featured a red carpet ceremony, Charity Slot Tournament, a benefit concert featuring Tampa Bay Acoustic Music Festival headliner The Cruz Brothers and a check presentation to Metropolitan Ministries for $5,775!

Metropolitan Ministries has been providing hope to the homeless and those in danger of becoming homeless in the Tampa Bay area since 1972.  They believe in treating each person with dignity and provide services that alleviate suffering and instill self sufficiency.  They provide 2,300 meals, a home for 100 families and single women, childcare for 250 children, life skills, and practical help to 200 families each and every day.  Over the course of their 43 year history, they have served over 1.6 million meals and 97% of the families they have helped continue to remain self-sufficient, according to their website.

To provide hope for the homeless in Tampa Bay, the casino raised money for Metropolitan Ministries by donating 100 percent of the proceeds from sales of their limited edition Metropolitan Ministries blue sunglasses as well as proceeds from sales of the 2015 Seminole Hard Rock Girls Calendar.  These sunglasses look splendid on gorgeous Hard Rock Girl Miss November, don't you agree?

To further support their work, the casino hosted a Metropolitan Ministries Fundraising event.  The event kicked off with a Charity Slot Tournament where the casino raised additional money for the organization by donating fifty percent of the $10 tournament entry fee to Metropolitan Ministries and 50 percent to the prize pool. Open to the public, everyone had fun playing the slots for the chance to "win big" while also providing a little more hope for the homeless. 

The Hard Rock Cafe was rockin' during a benefit concert by The Cruz Brothers. Since making their debut during the Tampa Bay Acoustic Music Festival in June, The Cruz Brothers became Hard Rock Cafe Brand Ambassadors and are now a house favorite.  They were delighted to be back supporting Metropolitan Ministries and kept the giving going with original songs including "Tidal Wave", "Bananaman", "Cats" and my personal favorite "What I Am". 

After the concert, I had the chance to sit down with Tammy Charles, Senior Manager of Corporations & Foundations at Metropolitan Ministries, to learn a little more about organization and how they offer hope to families during the critical holiday season.  Charles was eager to tell me about Metropolitan Ministries annual holiday tent, a giant structure located at 400 West Palm Avenue in Tampa where people from all ages and all walks of life come together to provide food, toys, prayer, love and holiday cheer to 20,000 families who are suffering and in need of help each year.  "To see ​the entire community come together and wrap our arms around people that are in need, to me that a miracle. That's what I love about the holidays" said Charles.  

The highlight of the evening came when the casino presented a check to Metropolitan Ministries for $5,775! Metropolitan Ministries also received this stunning Dean guitar signed by the 3,400 team members that work at the casino!  

Many thanks to the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa for their generous support of Metropolitan Ministries.  With your help, and through the incredible work of Metropolitan Ministries, more people in our community will feel joy this holiday season.

The giving continues this December as the casino supports The Angelus!  Show your support by rocking the limited edition The Angelus yellow shades and attending the Charity Slot Tournament on Friday, December 4th!  For more information, click here.