"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
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.