St. Petersburg, Florida -- Floridians are no longer taking the warm weather for granted, especially those who live on the streets.
More than 2,200 people are on the streets any given night in Pinellas County, according to the Pinellas County Coalition for the Homeless. The group coordinates the Cold Night Shelter program.
When temperatures drop below 40 degrees, the shelters open. So far this December, the shelters have opened eight times, helping up to 500 people a night. The organization said it has never had this many opening in December and is dangerously close to using up supplies designated for the entire winter.
That's where you come in. The Pinellas County Coalition for the Homeless is in desperate need of donations. Here's what the Coalition says you can help with:
1. Money (cash or checks), to help us pay for motel nights for homeless families, gas to get them to the Shelters, and to purchase bulk food and other supplies that we cannot get any other way. Money should be sent to the Pinellas County Coalition for the Homeless (PCCH) at 5180 62nd Ave, North, Pinellas Park, FL 33781. We are a non-profit corporation (Tax ID 59-2935116), and any donations are tax deductible (we provide a letter for the IRS). Contributions can also be made through our website: www.pinellashomeless.org
2. Single-bed blankets (new or clean/in good shape). Double, queen, or king-size blankets are too large to be used in the Cold Night Shelters, but they can certainly be donated to emergency shelters or agency thrift stores.
3. Winter clothes: new, or clean and in good shape, jackets/coats, jeans, sweatshirts, gloves, warm knit caps. We need clothes for women and especially men.
4. Paper goods: paper plates, napkins, hot cups, plastic utensils.
5. Coffee, with creamer and sugar, and hot chocolate mix. All of the donations (except the checks or cash) should be brought directly to the Cold Night Shelters (see list below).
2010-2011 Cold Night Shelters
Adult Men and Women
Clearwater: Primary Shelter Peace Memorial Presbyterian Church
110 S. Ft. Harrison Avenue, Clearwater, FL 33756
Church Phone: 442-3677
Clearwater: Back-up Shelter St Cecelia Catholic Church
820 Jasmine Way Clearwater, FL 33756
Church Phone: 447-3494
Gulfport Trinity Church of the Nazarene
1000 55th St. South, Gulfport, FL 33707
Church Phone: 321-1598
Pinellas Park Boys & Girls Club of the Suncoast in Pinellas Park
7790 61st Street North, Pinellas Park, FL 33781
St. Petersburg Northwest Presbyterian Church
6330 54th Ave. North, St. Petersburg, FL 33706
Church Phone: 544-4551
1400 4th Street South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701
The Turning Point
1810 5th Ave. North, St. Petersburg, FL 33713
Tarpon Springs St Timothy's Lutheran Church
812 E. Tarpon Avenue, Tarpon Springs, FL 34689
The Pinellas County Coalition for the Homeless