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How to help those in need around Tampa Bay during the coronavirus pandemic

Local organizations are struggling amid high demand. Here are the ways to help.
Erin Brickfield, a Feeding Tampa Bay employee, discards empty trays during a mega-pantry food distribution outside the Yuengling Center at the University of South Florida in Tampa on Wednesday, July 1, 2020. The nonprofit organization served the community every weekend for the past three months to help people who've faced food scarcity as a result of the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Within the first hour of the event, 444 adults were served, according to the organization.
Erin Brickfield, a Feeding Tampa Bay employee, discards empty trays during a mega-pantry food distribution outside the Yuengling Center at the University of South Florida in Tampa on Wednesday, July 1, 2020. The nonprofit organization served the community every weekend for the past three months to help people who've faced food scarcity as a result of the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Within the first hour of the event, 444 adults were served, according to the organization. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]
Published Dec. 29, 2020

As lawmakers debate the size of economic stimulus checks this week, need around the Tampa Bay area continues to be high. Local nonprofits are struggling to meet demand. The coronavirus has continued to force layoffs and closures as well as the cancellation of fundraising events.

Do we need more reasons to help others in unprecedented times? If you are looking for the good Samaritans in our midst, here are some ways to contribute.

Hunger

Feeding Tampa Bay has turned their Mobile Pantry free grocery program into a drive-thru model to eliminate crowds. To help, you can simply donate money to this and other local food banks. Or donate your time by creating food baskets or assisting in the warehouse. For information, call (813) 254-1190 and feedingtampabay.org.

Tampa Food Not Bombs provides mutual aid survival programs assisting the houseless and hungry, and stands in opposition to the violence of war and poverty. instagram.com/tampafoodnotbombs.

Hope Villages for those in need through innovative programs and services. rcspinellas.org.

Donations left during a food drive hosted by Feeding Tampa Bay at Amalie Arena on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020 in Tampa.
Donations left during a food drive hosted by Feeding Tampa Bay at Amalie Arena on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020 in Tampa. [ MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE | Times ]

Tampa Bay Network to End Hunger brings people together to find solutions that eliminate barriers, increase access and knowledge, and expand the amount of nutritious food available. networktoendhunger.org.

Meals on Wheels delivers nutritious meals to the country’s most vulnerable seniors. Donations will replenish food supplies, subsidize additional transportation and personnel, and enable tech-based efforts to check in on isolated elderly recipients. For the holiday season, the group has partnered with commerce platforms and brands that have pledged to donate a portion of proceeds. You can donate at mealsonwheelsamerica.org.

Citrus County Harvest hunger relief program works through 26 local schools. citruscountyblessings.org,

Paying bills

Pasco’s Community Aid Network is dedicated to providing basic human necessities such as food, toiletries, hygiene products, bedding and clothing to anyone in need. communityaidnetwork.org

Need Help Paying Bills: Find information on charities, churches, government assistance programs, organizations. needhelppayingbills.com. Duke Energy and TECO have programs that allow people to donate toward the cost of power bills in their area.

Black Collective Movement defends and protects Black lives in the Tampa Bay community. instagram.com/thebcmtampa.

Reach Services helps to prevent evictions and provide food. reach.services

Homelessness

Metropolitan Ministries provides practical solutions for poor and homeless families and individuals throughout Tampa Bay. metromin.org

Blanket Tampa Bay gives out blankets and thousands of hygiene items across the Tampa Bay community, involving people of every age, interest and need. blanketampabay.org.

Empty shelves are the result of decreased donations for needy persons, due to the Coronavirus crisis which is causing people to hold on to what they have and to over-shop at local grocery stores, causing shortages there as well. At Daystar Life Center on Wednesday, March 18, 2020 in St. Petersburg.
Empty shelves are the result of decreased donations for needy persons, due to the Coronavirus crisis which is causing people to hold on to what they have and to over-shop at local grocery stores, causing shortages there as well. At Daystar Life Center on Wednesday, March 18, 2020 in St. Petersburg. [ MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE | Times ]

St. Vincent de Paul CARES is committed to ending homelessness — “making it rare, brief, and one-time.” It serves people in 16 counties, including Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Lake, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, and Sumter.” svdpsp.org.

Health care

Clearwater Free Clinic provides health care to low-income uninsured residents of upper Pinellas County. clearwaterfreeclinic.org.

St Petersburg Free Clinic is a human services agency providing assistance with food, shelter and health care. stpetersburgfreeclinic.org.

Necessities

Voices for Children of Tampa Bay is in need of volunteers and support to help with the wide range of needs of children, including clothing, beds and school necessities. vfcgal.org.

Daystar has a mission to alleviate hunger, homelessness and hopelessness. daystarlife.com.

Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services has diverse community programs to provide support for individuals during all stages of life, from children to senior citizens. gulfcoastjewishfamilyandcommunityservices.org.

Somebody Cares Tampa Bay is a network of organizations that assist individuals and families in financial need. sctb.org.

Help Heal Veterans provides therapeutic craft kits to veterans healvets.org.

Good Samaritan Health Clinic of Pasco provides medical and dental services free-of-charge to residents of Pasco County. goodsamclinic.org.

Beth-El Farmworker Ministry serves the nearby rural population to meet the needs of education, hunger and medicine. beth-el.org.

Homeless Emergency Project provides homeless and low-income families and individuals with housing, food, clothing, and support service hepempowers.org.

Good Samaritan Mission is dedicated to a holistic approach to enhance the spiritual, emotional and physical quality of life for those living in poverty. goodsamclinic.org..

Redlands Christian Migrant Association funds child care, education, and resources for migrant farm families. rcma.org.

Shepherd’s Village is a non-profit in Pinellas County that helps single mothers who come from abusive or broken relationships. https://goodsamclinic.org.

Abe Brown Ministries: Hillsborough County ranks second highest in the state for the number of inmates admitted into prison, according to data from the Florida Department of Corrections. More than 2,000 prisoners are released to Hillsborough County each year. Without intervention and assistance, a number of them fall through the cracks and return to a life of crime. abebrown.org.

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