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Tampa, Pasco charities work together to help homeless families and children

Gail Diederich, left, and her friend Gail Kelly Lester are the authors of Tales of Two Gails.

Special to the Times

Gail Diederich, left, and her friend Gail Kelly Lester are the authors of Tales of Two Gails.


Tampa, Pasco charities will work together

Metropolitan Ministries of Tampa and Joining Hands Mission in Holiday are taking on a major private fundraising initiative to expand efforts to help Pasco County's homeless families and children. Metropolitan Ministries, which has provided services in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties for 40 years, is offering up to $90,000 in matching funds for Joining Hands' programs in Pasco. Those programs include utility assistance, emergency food and shelter. Joining Hands is Metropolitan's first year-round satellite partner. The group's steering committee includes Pasco Commission Chairwoman Ann Hildebrand. Homelessness in Pasco County is a rapidly growing problem, and recent statistics show that the number of school-age homeless children in Pasco has grown in one year from 2,400 to 3,200, according to the Rev. Dan Campbell, chief executive officer of Joining Hands and leader of Pasco's homeless coalition. Donations and pledges may be made by contacting Campbell at (727) 937-3268 or e-mail at


Meet Santa, Grinch at Grove festival

The Grove at Wesley Chapel will host its fourth annual holiday festival from 4 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Santa and the Grinch will visit, and photos are permitted at the shopping center just west of Interstate 75 at State Road 54. The event will offer crafts, treats and a bounce house as well as on-stage singing by local school and church groups. Fido's Funland Pooch Parade will take place at 4:15 p.m. with registration at 3:30 for a $1 fee. The evening will wrap up with a reading of 'Twas the Night before Christmas and the tree lighting at 7 p.m. For information call the Greater Wesley Chapel Chamber of Commerce at (813) 994-8534.


Old friends will sign new book

Gail Diederich, the Hometown Pasco coordinator for the St. Petersburg Times, has co-authored a book with a longtime friend, sharing stories of faith and humor about meeting life's challenges. Tales of Two Gails draws on the experiences of Diederich and Gail Kelly Lester, both raised in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina. Life took them on different paths, but the two remained close and decided to share their stories with the hope of helping others find the positives in life. Diederich and Lester will give readings from the book from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday during an open house at the CARES Rao Musunuru, M.D. Enrichment Center, 12417 Clock Tower Parkway in Hudson. The book will be available for purchase and signing.

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Tampa, Pasco charities work together to help homeless families and children 12/02/10 [Last modified: Thursday, December 2, 2010 8:42pm]
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