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County gives $430,000 to 56 agencies

Social service agencies in Pinellas County will receive more than $430,000 in grants from the county this year, although that falls nearly $300,000 short of what those organizations had requested.

Like everyone else, non-profit agencies are feeling the pinch of the recession, said Evelyn Bethel, the county's director of social services.

"This is a tough year," Bethel said. "There are so many good agencies out there."

The $430,000 is about the same amount the county has handed out in the past few years, Bethel said, but the gap between that and the $722,000 requested by more than 70 social services groups is thought to be the largest ever.

Fifty-six of the groups that sought county money got some, although most did not get everything they asked for.

The county uses a five-person board to screen the social services requests each year and make recommendations about the grants to county commissioners, who approved them Tuesday.

The agencies receiving the grants are Hospice Care, $4,000 for educational materials for its minority outreach program; Kimberly Home, $4,000 for computer equipment education and pregnancy tests; Gulf Coast Jewish Family Services, $4,000 to match federal and state grants; Upper Pinellas Association for Retarded Citizens, $10,000 for new furniture and equipment in group homes, as well as salaries; Abilities, $4,500 for automatic doors for the handicapped; Friends of the Deaf, $2,500 for interpreter services.

Florida Gulf Coast Autism, $6,000 for salaries and operating expenses; Suncoast Epilepsy, $5,000 to match state and federal grants; Pinellas Center for the Visually Impaired, $7,000 to match state and federal grants; Louise Graham Center, $3,025 to replace chairs; Mount Zion Human Services, $7,000 for food, supplies and operation of free lunch program; Center for Crime Victims, $5,000 for therapy and other psychological services; St. Petersburg Family YMCA, $12,500 to subsidize clients unable to afford program fees and to match a foundation grant; Resource Center for Women, $40,000 for salaries; Christmas Toy Shop, $4,000 to buy and repair toys for donation.

United Methodist Cooperative Ministries, $7,000 to distribute bus tokens to the needy; Partners in Self-Sufficiency, $5,000 for salaries; YWCA St. Petersburg Emergency Center, $23,000 for salaries and equipment replacement; Catholic Charities, $20,599 for salaries and assistance for low-income families; Community Service Foundation, $26,901 for salaries; Family Resources Group Home, $2,000 to replace furnishings and equipment; Pinellas Opportunity Council, $21,000 to match various other grants; Florida Parent/Child Center, $2,000 to buy equipment.

San Antonio Boys Village, $1,475 to buy a commercial refrigerator; Brookwood Young Women's Residence, $4,400 to renovate a 50-year-old residential facility; Youth Homes of Florida, $5,000 to replace air conditioning, heating and carpeting; Community Campus Counseling, $4,500 for scholarships; Stepping Stone, $3,600 for wilderness camping program; St. Vincent De Paul Soup Kitchen, $11,000 for maintenance, operating and supplies; ASAP, $6,000 for salaries and utilities for emergency shelters; Homeless Emergency, $10,000 for salaries for emergency shelters; Quest Inn, $18,400 for salaries, utilities and expenses for emergency housing.

CASA, $18,000 for women's advocate salary; Resurrection House, $6,100 to repaint facilities; St. Giles Food Pantry, $2,500 for food for the needy; Alpha A Beginning, $10,000 to match a federal grant; Religious Community Services, $51,000 for salaries, food pantry, emergency housing and spouse abuse shelter; Operation PAR, $12,400 for salaries and medications, lab tests and supplies; Christian Recovery, $7,500 for salaries; Lodestar/Mustard Seed, $6,600 for salaries and utilities; and Neighborly Senior Services, $24,500 to match state and federal grants.