Pinellas Hope, a program of Catholic Charities that provides emergency shelter and services to the homeless, received a $25,000 donation in honor the 25th anniversary of Bishop Emeritus Robert N. Lynch’s episcopal ordination.
The donation was the sum of collections from a call to community members to donate $25 or more.
Lynch, who served as bishop of the Diocese of St. Petersburg from 1996 to 2017, was instrumental in the creation of Pinellas Hope in 2007. The diocese provided the land in Clearwater where the facilities were built. Since its creation, the organization has expanded to offer adult education and mental health resources among other services.
Danielle Husband, senior director of services at Pinellas Hope, said the funds will go toward refurbishing and repairing some of the tents and cottages.
“Just knowing how many people were willing to help in a moment of crisis ... it definitely was a neat and surreal thing,” she said.
On average, Pinellas Hope serves between 1,100 to 1,200 people each year, Husband said, helping them come up with plans for more permanent housing.
Due to the pandemic, she said, the numbers have been slightly down. Though she said Pinellas Hope has so far not had any coronavirus cases, she thinks fear might stop people from seeking shelter and the moratorium on evictions might also be temporarily helping people who are struggling financially. She expects a spike in numbers as other relief efforts run out.
Husband said she’s grateful for the diocese’s continued support.
“It’s a labor of love and mission of mercy,” she said.
“We are grateful for Bishop Lynch’s ministry,” Bishop Gregory Parkes said in a news release Friday. “He is very proud of Pinellas Hope, a beautiful, shelter ministry established over 13 years ago that has helped and served and ministered to so many, giving them the dignity they deserve as God’s children.”
(Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the years Bishop Emeritus Robert Lynch served as bishop of the Diocese of St. Petersburg. The dates have been corrected.)