This is the time of the year when charities and non-profits step up their efforts to help those in need. As different events or programs come in, we'll update this list to make it easier for people to keep track of programs they might be interested in helping out. If you are a group looking to be a part of this list, please send your information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
• The Pinellas County Holiday Tent at Taking it to the Street Ministries, 7320 47th St N Pinellas Park, is serving 3,500 families this year is in desperate need of toy donations to finish out the week. Donations are way below forecasted and families may be turned away without help. Open daily this week from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
• Divine Charities, also known as Santa's Angels, is still in need for four families that need adopting. The organization funds the $50 per child and supplies the food. Contact Nancy at (813) 263-5778 or Lynne at (727) 319-8092 or email SantasAngels@TampaBay.rr.com
• A collection site has been established in Gulfport's Art Village courtyard for donations of shoes, socks, jackets and blankets to be distributed to homeless individuals and families in Pinellas County. Y Not Ministries, a Gulfport youth services group, is organizing the collection. New and gently used items can be dropped off at T and Me Tea Company, 2908 ½ Beach Blvd. S in Gulfport's Art Village courtyard. Donations will be accepted through Dec. 23 and items will be distributed on Christmas Eve. For information, contact Tania Morrison-Clark at (727) 331-9262 or email email@example.com.
• Child Abuse Council's Holiday Store New Toy Drive is in desperate need of toys. Last year, the Holiday Store provided toys for 575 needy children. The biggest need this year is in the infant to 1 year age group where nearly 200 toys are needed. No stuffed animals, books or violent toys, please. New toys only. Unwrapped please. Toys can be dropped off by appointment by calling (813) 673-4646 x224.
• Science Center of Pinellas receives many requests for scholarship or financial assistance for families in need. If you are interested in sponsoring a student or family to attend one of the center's winter break science workshops, please call Shelly Puckett at (727) 384-0027 ext. 230 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org .
• Commission Ministries, a small nonprofit group that helps the homeless and near-homeless in East Tampa, is in need of socks, underwear, jeans, blankets, tarps, tents, bug spray, antifungal powder, sunscreen, hygiene items, baggies or resealable tins and food. Commission Ministries is located at 2017 N 60th St,, Tampa. Call (813) 664-0585.
• Clothes To Kids will provide more than a thousand wardrobes to low-income, school age children during the holiday season, free of charge. Cooler weather means children are grabbing long pants, jackets, and sneakers. CTK has an immediate need for donations of little boy and girl jeans tops and jeans (Sizes 6-16) and shoes (Sizes 3-6) and little boy jackets (Size M/L). Cash donations are always welcome to purchase other needed clothing items. Donations accepted weekdays 9-5, at 3251 Third Ave N, Suite 145, St. Petersburg, 33713 or 1059 N Hercules Ave, Clearwater, 33765 or call (727) 441-5050.
• The city of Largo's annual Day of Good Deeds on Jan. 14 aims to gather enough donations to fill 16,000 bags of prepackaged meals to those in need. If you would like to contribute to the program, a donation box is set up inside the Largo Community Center, 400 Alt. Keene Road. Hours are 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday, Thursday and Friday; 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday; 10 a.m. to noon Saturday; Closed on Sunday. If you'd like to discuss becoming a sponsor for the event or need more information, call (727) 518-3131.
To help the hungry
•Monetary donations can be made to the Feeding America Tampa Bay Food Bank: 4702 Transport Drive, Building 6, Tampa. (813) 254-1190, ext. 200.
• Monetary donations can be made to the Kaye Prox Food Bank, the Lutheran Church of Our Saviour, 8401 W Hillsborough Ave., Tampa. It also accepts nonperishable canned food, ice, cereal and peanut butter.
•Money or food can be donated to Daystar Life Center, 226 Sixth St. S, St. Petersburg. (727) 894-5323.
• The St. Petersburg Free Clinic operates the only food bank in southern Pinellas County and provides temporary assistance with food as well as other resources to help individuals regain their financial independence. Located at 863 3rd Ave. N., St. Petersburg. Call (727) 821-1200 ext. 108, fax: (727) 821-9263. www.stpetersburgfreeclinic.org
Year-round providers for the needy
The following is a list of major area organizations offering assistance to the homeless and people in need:
Alpha House of Tampa provides housing for homeless pregnant women and teen moms in foster care and their babies. Visit www.alphahouseoftampa.org for information on how you can help.
• Metropolitan Ministries provides food, clothing, shelter, and other vital services for the poor and homeless. It has many volunteer opportunities, donation drives and donation drop-off locations in Pinellas, Pasco and Hillsborough counties. Visit metromin.org to find out more information.
• ASAP Homeless Services provides housing and other services to St. Petersburg's homeless citizens, 423 11th Ave S., St. Petersburg, or by calling (727) 823-5665.
•The St. Petersburg Free Clinic operates the only food bank in southern Pinellas County and provides temporary assistance with food as well as other resources to help individuals regain their financial independence. Also, the Free Clinic Beacon House Community Kitchen provides a hot meal six nights a week to anyone who is hungry. Meals are served on Sunday at 4:30 p.m., and Monday-Friday at 5 p.m., 2151 Central Ave. Call (727) 823-5780 or (727) 821-3894. The Free Clinic Health Center serves the uninsured. Appointments can be made by calling (727) 327-0333.
• Salvation Army provides transitional housing, rehabilitation, food and correctional services, 1603 N Florida Ave., Tampa, or by calling (813) 226-0055 (Hillsborough Area Command); 340 14th Ave. S, St. Petersburg, or by calling (727) 550-8080 (St. Petersburg Area Command).
• Daystar provides family aid and crisis needs of food, clothing and rental assistance. They also provide mailing services for the homeless and assistance in obtaining identification documents, 226 Sixth St. S, St. Petersburg, or by calling (727) 825-0442. In Hillsborough, call (813) 672 6061. In Pasco County, call (352) 523-0844
• Florida Cancer Specialists Foundation provides non-medical financial assistance to patients in the community to help with rent, car repairs or insurance, and other costs. Cash or check accepted, along with foods for the food pantry (peanut butter, non-refrigerated puddings, instant mashed potato, soups, other easy-to-eat, soft foods for patients), plus personal care items like soap, body wash, shampoo, and other toiletries. 1201 Fifth Ave. North, Suite #505, St. Petersburg, 33705. (727) 821-0017, ext. 2264.
• Religious Community Services Inc. (RCS) provides food, housing, legal advocacy, clothing and household goods, 503 S Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave., Clearwater, or by calling (727) 584-3528.
• 2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares Inc. works in conjunction with the United Way of Tampa Bay to connect people with organizations offering various types of assistance, 50 S Belcher Rd, Suite 116, Clearwater. If you need help or want to donate, dial 211 on any phone 24 hours a day, or send an e-mail to email@example.com.
• Shepherd Center of Tarpon Springs provides services to low income families, the elderly poor and the homeless, including outreach and referral services, a food pantry, clothing tree, a community kitchen, nursing services, an eye clinic, a thrift store and much more. It is located at 780 S. Pinellas Avenue in Tarpon Springs. (727) 939-1400.