Pinellas Hope opened its doors December 1, 2007. It is a community-wide partnership of numerous representatives of the faith community, city, and county governments, and other not-for-profit organizations, to provide meals and shelter for 200–250 street homeless for an average stay of 91 days. It is located in Clearwater on 10+ acres, provided by Bishop Robert Lynch and the Diocese of St. Petersburg.
Background checks are done on all the residents, and case managers meet with them on a regular basis to set goals towards self-sufficiency. They also assist the residents with job and housing placement and perform follow up visits with them 30, 60, and 90 days after they leave the shelter. The goal is not only to meet the immediate needs of the homeless, but to successfully transition 40% of the Pinellas Hope participants out of homelessness. Blessed Sacrament’s direct participation in the Pinellas Hope Ministry began two years ago in January 2010. The parish provides clothing, plus a weekly meal to Pinellas Hope. In December 2012, Bishop Lynch was pleased to report that the success rate, transition from homelessness to self sufficiency, is at 56%. As of October 2011, Pinellas Hope has served 186,000 meals on an average yearly basis.
This ministry meets every Friday in our Parish Hall at 1:30pm to cook for the residents. According to ministry leader Kathy Dunn, “We are usually done by 3:30pm, give or take… it depends on the meal and how many people show up to help. Once the meal is cooked, we place it in the warmers until it is picked up. The second set of volunteers will show up at about 5:45pm to take the food from the warmers to Pinellas Hope and serve the meal. This process is usually done by 8:00pm. We do not have a set schedule for people as far as days and times. If you have the time and want to help out on any Friday, for either shift, please come join us.”
You can also help by making a donation. Please place it in an envelope marked “Pinellas Hope” and put it in the collection basket.