Needed Now Fund Update — Winter 2021

by | Dec 2, 2021 | Being Responsive, Health & Human Services, Legal | 0 comments

Navigating the COVID-19 pandemic and finding a new normal has been hard for all of us.

Our community needs change as the pandemic brings new challenges and developments. Through trusted relationships with over 150 charitable agencies across the county, Pinellas Community Foundation learns about the most pressing issues from those working every day to alleviate problems.

By listening to our nonprofit partners, feeding the hungry and mitigating evictions arose as two of the greatest areas of concern as we advance through the healing process. In response, PCF created the Needed Now Fund. This fund was designed to raise awareness and provide solutions for the immediate issues impacting the community.

Feeding the Hungry

Families in the Tampa Bay area are struggling to put food on their tables during the continuing pandemic. Older adults, the unemployed and underemployed, students at school or at home, and even preschool children are food insecure — in numbers previously not seen. The PCF Needed Now Fund supports Tampa Bay charities dedicated to feeding the hungry throughout our community regardless of age.

Between the loss of health and employment, renters throughout Tampa Bay struggle to pay monthly expenses. According to the small business research firm AdvisorSmith, 15.6% of Floridian renters were at risk of eviction in January and February of this year, while 8.4% is the average for evictions nationwide. The PCF Needed Now Fund supports area nonprofits that work with tenants and landlords to resolve disputes, mediate agreements and assist with court registry deposits.

We are thrilled to announce that with your contributions and a donation from the Pinellas CARES Nonprofit Partnership fund, PCF has distributed $20,000 to local charities.

The following organizations received $2,500 toward programs and services that feed the hungry and food-insecure:

  • The Hispanic Outreach Center offers food pantries, health and family services, and legal services that target intercultural advocacy for the Spanish-speaking community in Pinellas County.
  • The Tampa Bay Network to End Hunger is a coalition of over 350 members dedicated to ending hunger in Pinellas, Pasco, and Hillsborough counties with a shared focus on boosting awareness, breaking down barriers, and increasing the accessibility of nutritious food to everyone.
  • The Gathering of Women is a cross-cultural women’s alliance committed to stabilizing economic security and opportunities for all community members. It provides food access to the homeless, seniors, working poor, and disabled by offering food pantries in economically challenged areas of Pinellas County.
  • The Kind Mouse Productions works with Pinellas County Schools to help children struggling with chronic hunger, homelessness, new hunger, or risk of homelessness to get nutritious food.

Mitigating Evictions

The following organizations received $5,000 to help mitigate evictions by adding funds into court registries required for eviction hearings:

  • The Community Law Program offers free legal services to eligible residents and nonprofits. It helps to ensure equal access to justice through legal assistance and education to thousands of poor and disadvantaged families, individuals, and social service organizations.
  • Gulfcoast Legal Services offers free legal services and assistance to low-income individuals and vulnerable populations, such as the homeless, elderly veterans, crime victims, and people with disabilities. Its services focus on civil legal matters, such as foreclosure, fair housing, consumer credit, immigration, domestic violence, and more.

This is just the beginning. The PCF Needed Now Fund will change its focus annually as the community recovers. PCF will review the varied areas of need, through continuing dialog with partner agencies and refocus support, with an intent on progress and recovery to a better place than we were before COVID-19.

Stay Connected To What’s Needed Now

Find out our community’s greatest needs as they develop.