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Tampa Bay mom surprised with new car for Christmas


The donation kicked off the Forever 55 Stable Families Project, which will support 20 Tampa Bay families ‘transitioning from homelessness to self-sufficiency.’

TAMPA, Fla. — A crisp Christmas morning set the stage for a surprise of holiday proportions and at the end had one local single mom driving her family home in a brand new car. 

It was all made possible by the Tampa Bay Super Bowl LV Host Committee, which partnered with Metropolitan Ministries, Elder Ford of Tampa and Wheels for Success. 

Traciann, a single mother of four, went from motel to motel before she and her family found relief and refuge at Metropolitan Ministries, a release said. With the help of Metropolitan’s programs and resources, she was able to find a permanent job and has a foundation of self-sufficiency, according to the host committee. 

Now, she’s one step further with a new car. 

This donation kicked off the Forever 55 Stable Families Project, which will support 20 Tampa Bay families “transitioning from homelessness to self-sufficiency.” The project is part of the Super Bowl Legacy Grant Program funded by the NFL Foundation and the host committee, along with local partners. 

According to the latest United Way ALICE report, 46 percent of households in Florida struggle to pay for basic needs such as food, housing and healthcare. This project will provide 20 families from Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties with “flexible funding to further their education, create employment opportunities, establish safe and stable homes and have access to digital resources to participate in education programs or employment.” 

Families will be paired with case managers to help them create a plan of action to address needs such as education, health, housing, budgeting, employment, and children’s needs. Families chosen are graduates from Metropolitan Ministries or participants in Restored Hope, Meals on Wheels for Kids, Police Athletic League programs and other non-profits throughout Tampa Bay, according to the host committee. 

“Metropolitan Ministries is an incredible organization helping alleviate suffering and instill hope to those who need it most,” said Claire Lessinger, Chief Operating Officer of the Tampa Bay Super Bowl LV Host Committee.  “As a result of our Forever 55 partnership and Stable Families Project we are dedicating dollars and resources directly to families in need and helping them transition from homelessness to self-sufficiency. Our collective goal is to positively impact and provide a sustainable boost to as many underserved communities and families as possible. Traciann’s inspiring story is one of many to come.” 

The host committee says the services provided through the Stable Families Project will help homeless families “utilize direct financial assistance to further their goals and an opportunity to rebuild their livelihood.” With these resources, the host committee says the goal is to help these families grow and flourish and not return to homelessness. 

“We often hear about the economic impact a city experiences when hosting a Super Bowl,” said Tim Marks, President and CEO of Metropolitan Ministries. “We are incredibly grateful to the NFL and the Tampa Bay Super Bowl LV Host Committee for having the foresight to create a long-lasting impact through Forever 55. Their commitment to this compassionate and caring initiative will have a transformative impact on these 20 families.” 

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