Tuesday, January 16, 2018
News Roundup

Pinellas food bank running low on holiday turkeys, hams

CLEARWATER — Imagine not having enough money to serve the family a turkey or ham dinner during the holidays. That's essentially the situation that Pinellas County's largest food bank is facing this year.

The Religious Community Services Food Bank, based in Clearwater, recently got an anonymous $30,000 donation with a request that it be used to buy Thanksgiving turkeys. RCS gladly obliged. Using the donation and other money, it bought 2,700 turkeys.

"What we do is serve people once a month," said Jerry Coleman, RCS's program director. "We wanted to make sure everybody had an opportunity to get a turkey, so we began (distributing them) on Nov. 1. In the first two and a half weeks, we handed out 2,600."

While needy families will receive canned goods and other staples for December, there are no more hams or turkeys available. RCS is seeking more donations so that more families are able to enjoy a traditional holiday meal.

"We've already given out 200 turkeys more than last year," said Coleman. "What that means is that compared to last year, we've served an additional 200 households, because we only give turkeys to households."

At RCS's location in Clearwater, needy individuals and households can come once a month and get three to four days' worth of food. Last month's clients included 420 families who were new to the food bank, said Lisa Matzner, its director of grants development.

RCS also distributes food throughout Pinellas County to 60 sites — food pantries, homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, soup kitchens and housing programs for the disabled and elderly.

Coleman is quick to point out that many in the community help RCS feed those in need. Individuals, church congregations and corporate partners have stepped up to run food drives.

But the need is steadily rising and funding is down.

"We serve the working poor, the people who can't make ends meet. These people make out fairly well three weeks out of four, and what we do is help them in that last week," Coleman said. "Nobody is on the street dying of starvation in Pinellas County, but there are people out there who are hungry."

Correspondent Theodora Aggeles can be reached at [email protected]

Comments
Women speak out on abuse by Nassar; Nation’s first Sikh attorney general confirmed; more in U.S. news

Women speak out on abuse by Nassar; Nation’s first Sikh attorney general confirmed; more in U.S. news

Updated: 1 hour ago
In major shift, House bill would turn three USF universities into one

In major shift, House bill would turn three USF universities into one

Separate accreditation has long been a point of pride and a stamp of independence for the St. Petersburg and Sarasota-Manatee branches of the University of South Florida.Graduates of those schools frame diplomas bearing the name of their own universi...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Video captures basketball game between kids, St. Petersburg officers

Video captures basketball game between kids, St. Petersburg officers

ST. PETERSBURG — Teamwork wins games, they say. And basketball can bridge gaps.That’s what makes the Facebook video of three St. Petersburg police officers playing a game of pickup in the street against three kids so compelling. The officers, who wer...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Top Hillsborough teaching honor goes to a Lewis Elementary educator

Top Hillsborough teaching honor goes to a Lewis Elementary educator

TAMPA — The Hillsborough County Teacher of the Year is a self-described "busy, busy bee" who never tires of exploring new ways to help students learn, even if she has to be creative.At 56, Bonnie Bresnyan also is a mentor for the next generation of s...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Casino boat operator in fatal fire had maintenance, safety issues before earlier blaze

Casino boat operator in fatal fire had maintenance, safety issues before earlier blaze

PORT RICHEY — The casino boat operator whose shuttle caught fire Sunday, leaving one passenger dead, says it does not know what could have caused the blaze.But federal records show the company, now called Tropical Breeze Casino Cruz, had another boat...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Goodbye 70s. Hello freeze watch. Cold spell headed for Tampa Bay.

Goodbye 70s. Hello freeze watch. Cold spell headed for Tampa Bay.

Did everyone enjoy the cool, sunny weather? Because it’s over now.It’s about to get very chilly, Tampa Bay. A rush of arctic air is headed our way, bringing another cold spell. Daytime temperatures will be in the low 60s on Wednesday, but overnight t...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Thanks Twitter: Fakesters pose as jackpot winner Shane Missler

Thanks Twitter: Fakesters pose as jackpot winner Shane Missler

Jackpot winner and Florida man Shane Missler wants to leave behind a legacy with his winnings.But he won’t be doing that by doling out cash to Twitter followers.PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Florida man, 20, claims $450M Mega Millions jackpotAn account cunningl...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Hillsborough County firefighter gets the ax after investigators find ties to motorcycle gang

Hillsborough County firefighter gets the ax after investigators find ties to motorcycle gang

TAMPA — Hillsborough County officials fired a Fire Rescue medic Tuesday after an internal investigation concluded he had "unwavering loyalty" to the Outlaws Motorcycle Club — the state’s dominant biker gang.Clinton Neal Walker, 33, of Bradenton is th...
Updated: 2 hours ago

St. Pete officer suspended for month after pushing concert guard

ST. PETERSBURG — A police officer was suspended for a month after he pushed a security guard at a summer concert in Tampa, according to St. Petersburg police.It could have been worse: Chief Tony Holloway determined Officer Curtis Wright could have be...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Bangladesh, Myanmar agree to Rohingya repatriation timeline; Madsen charged in journalist Wall’s death; more in world news

Bangladesh, Myanmar agree to Rohingya repatriation timeline; Madsen charged in journalist Wall’s death; more in world news

South AsiaNations plan Rohingya returnBangladesh and Myanmar have agreed that they will try to complete within two years the repatriation of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslim refugees who fled from violence in Myanmar, Bangladesh’s Foreign Min...
Updated: 3 hours ago