"There are many local organizations throughout Clearwater, Pinellas County and Tampa Bay that serve the needs of those less fortunate. Residents are probably most familiar with the Salvation Army, the Arc of Tampa Bay, the Homeless Empowerment Program and RCS, for example.
Of course, there are other organizations that have been providing services in the community for years. I toured one such non-profit recently – Abilities of Florida which opened 60 years ago. Now known as ServiceSource, this group works with people who have disabilities. It helps them with employment training, affordable housing and financial emergency assistance.
ServiceSource’s headquarters for Florida is in Pinellas County and houses the Warrior Bridge Veterans Mall and Opportunity Calls Contact Training Center. These programs help veterans transition to civilian life and assist in keeping formerly homeless veterans from returning to a life on the street.
Another aspect of ServiceSource is its Interpreting and Deaf Services program. Through it in-person interpreters, as well as video remote interpreting to those with hearing disabilities, can be provided. Further information on ServiceSource programs is available at www.servicesource.org or by calling (727) 600-8900.
Another group with a long history in Clearwater and Pinellas County is the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Upper Pinellas County. The Society is known for its soup kitchen, but under the leadership of its board of directors, and executive Pete Scalia, a new Community Kitchen and Resource Center was dedicated on March 8th.
With this new center, the Society will not only continue to provide meals as it has done since 1982, but will also become a training and resource center to provide the homeless and needy with more than just a hot meal every day. The new building, which formerly housed the CHIPS program, is a collaboration between the City of Clearwater and several community organizations. The center will also offer a medical clinic and legal assistance to help clients. Visit their website at www.svdpsoupclearwater.org for more information.
Although changes in federal income tax laws may impact the way individuals donate to charities, the need remains. As the Easter and Passover season and the deadline for federal tax payments approach, Clearwater residents are encouraged to continue to support those less fortunate and organizations such as ServiceSource and the St. Vincent de Paul Society that depend on volunteers and contributions to provide a 'hand up' and not just a 'hand out'.”
Mayor George Cretekos, City of Clearwater
Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach Hotel staff making meatloaf mashed potatoes and mushroom gravy meal for the homeless. Thanks to all that volunteered!
Photo Gallery: Design For Communication, Slideshow Images: City of Clearwater Photographer
The St. Vincent de Paul Community Kitchen is proud to have participated in the grand opening of the Resource Job Training Center. The grand opening ribbon cutting ceremony took place on Friday, March 8, 2019 at 1339 Park St city location.
In attendance - Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos, Clearwater City Manager Bill Horne, Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch, and Michael Jalazo, the Executive Director of PERC (Pinellas Ex-Offender Reentry Coalition).
St. Vincent de Paul feeds approximately 150 homeless every day. The added Resource Center services will provide the homeless with job training and placement. The program is a collaboration between local community organizations – Going Home Coalition and PERC. The center also offers a range of services including a medical clinic, legal assistance and other resources for clients to improve their lives.
1. SVdP is fortunate to have leader in our community that will match $50,000 to an equal amount raised. You can help our Soup Kitchen meet that goal. Donate at: www.svdpsoupclearwater.org
2. Community Toy Giveaway for Neighborhood Children Event Details: Toy pick up is tentatively scheduled for 12/19-12/21/18. SVdP neighborhood area parents can request toys for their children. Local Catholic parishes are collecting toys. Parents will then come pick up toys to put under tree for kids. Soup Kitchen is located at: 1345 Park St, Clearwater, FL 33756. Hours: 8:30AM through 10:30AM. Enjoy. Ho. Ho. Ho.
3. The 5th Annual Santa & Suds .5K & 5K Run (Walk) & Fun Street Party is a Holiday-themed, family friendly race. Come experience a beautiful run/walk starting in downtown Clearwater, Florida then onto the Clearwater Bridge and back. Run/walk to burn off some of those extra seasonal calories. Remember to bring your Holiday cheer and dress in your most festive gear. Learn more at: www.svdpsoupclearwater.org/santasuds5k.html
A broad cross-section of people comes through the doors of the St. Vincent de Paul Community Kitchen and Resource Center—clients who are hungry and homeless, volunteers, others doing community service and crucial donors of food and finances. These are a few:
Dwight, 62, originally from Buffalo, is truly homeless and jobless. He says he made some mistakes in life, which led to a restraining order and being put out of the house by his wife a decade ago. He had done factory work, but new owners of the company had let him go.
With no job, no money and no housing, Dwight nevertheless comes in neat and well-groomed for a good, warm meal every day. He receives his mail here and gets a regular health check up every six months. For housing, he sleeps on cardboard behind a Clearwater building. He is planning to apply for Social Security retirement benefits to provide a small income. “Otherwise, I’m in great shape,” Dwight said.
Joe, 70, of nearby Belleair, has been volunteering his time at the food-serving counter for about five years. It has been a family tradition. His aunt volunteered here and then his wife, before Joe joined the Monday morning volunteer team. He can be found bringing out serving trays of meat, vegetables and salad, as well as a fresh pot of soup, which are all part of the regular daily meals.
On this particular Monday, Joe is assisting a group of student volunteer servers, clad in school uniforms of blue shirts and shorts from St. Cecelia Interparochial Catholic School, who are spooning out a hearty meal onto client’s food trays. Joe is a retired operations manager for a rubber company.
Community Kitchen and Resource Center begin in Pinellas Country in 1982. The SVdP Soup Kitchen has been at the Park St., Clearwater location since 2011. Focused on client self-sufficiency, serving breakfast to the poor and hungry.