Hello, my name is Hope.
That was the inscription featured on all name tags on a sunny afternoon in November when the Corporate Communications team from TECO Services Inc. set out to give back to the community at the Metropolitan Ministries Holiday Tent in Tampa, Fla.
And even though none of the team members actually carried the name Hope, the moniker rang true for all as the group provided just that for families in need.
Each year, Metropolitan Ministries sets up its holiday tents to help more than 18,000 people — from all faiths and diverse backgrounds – provide food, toys and cheer to their families when they need it most.
As the TECO team members arrived at the holiday tent on Nov. 16, they were quickly put to work directing traffic for parking, assisting families with grocery items and pulling wagons full of selected goods out to the individuals’ cars.
“It was a moving experience to witness the gratitude that came from the people our team was able to help that day,” said Bill Longstreth, director of Corporate Communications at TECO.
As one team member assisted a single mom with three children out to her car, the woman shared that she was stressed about how she would provide a Thanksgiving dinner for her family and still pay her bills. She said when she saw the sign for the tent, she knew it was from above.
“As a company, we enjoy being able to give back to the community we serve,” Longstreth said.
In fact, after seeing a need for more assistance at the tent that day, Ray Eydmann, customer and media research analyst at TECO, even volunteered to pull a double shift to help with parking needs.
“I was grateful to be able to assist in some small way,” Eydmann said.
Several of the TECO team members shared Eydmann’s sentiment and said they were so touched by the experience that they plan to go back again on their own.
The Metropolitan Ministries website still has volunteer opportunities open for the Holiday Tent through early January 2018.
“We went as a team to give to others, but we received much more in return,” Longstreth said.