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Front Page
Updated Dec. 3
Pinellas County shares the holiday spirit
Communities come together to make the holidays bright
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Article published on Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013
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Every day there are people who go hungry in Pinellas. The sick, the lonely and the desperate need someone to care. Holidays are an especially difficult time for the poorest of the poor.

Fortunately, the holiday spirit burns bright in Tampa Bay. People from all lifestyles come together year after year to bring joy and hope to those in need.

Share the Spirit serves as a clearinghouse of information received from businesses, churches and organizations who are working to make the holidays a good time for all. To add to this list, send an email to webmaster@tbnweekly.com.

Food drives

• Holiday food drive
NORTH REDINGTON BEACH – The town of North Redington Beach is hosting its third annual holiday food drive to benefit the Beach Community Food Pantry at Calvary Episcopal Church in Indian Rocks Beach. The food bank’s wish list includes powdered milk, instant potatoes, flour, coffee, butter/margarine, oil and vinegar. Other possibilities are canned vegetables, fruit, tomato sauce, tuna, ham, sardines, spaghetti sauce, beans, soups, cereal, pasta and rice. Call 391-4848.

• Food drive volunteers
St. Petersburg Salvation Army need volunteers for the Pinellas County Schools Food Drive. The need is for donated trucks, drivers and loaders to pick up and unload food from schools. Pick-ups are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec 2-6. For more information, call Gail Stark at 727-550-8080, ext. 332, email Gail_Stark@uss.salvationarmy.org or visit www.sastpete.org.

• Holiday food drive
ST. PETERSBURG - Pasadena Presbyterian is having a holiday food drive in December to benefit the food distribution center that serves more than 120 families twice a month with groceries. Donations of non-perishable food such as canned or boxed foods and grocery store gift cards for turkeys are being accepted at a collection unit on church property at 100 Pasadena Ave, N., St. Petersburg, weekdays from 3 to 7 p.m. Call 388-4339 or visit www.pasadenapc.com. Suggested donations include soup, chili, stew, macaroni and cheese, ravioli, canned beans, pasta, rice, noodles, canned tuna, chicken or salmon, canned tomatoes, canned vegetables, canned fruit, mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, salad dressing, peanut butter and jelly. Donations of seasonal foods also are needed, including cranberry sauce, stuffing, cake mix, frosting, instant potatoes or gravy mix. Grocery gift certificates are appreciated.

• Food for Fines
OLDSMAR – The Oldsmar Public Library will waive late book fines through Dec. 21 for persons who bring a non-perishable, unexpired food item during normal business hours during the annual Food for Fines food drive. All donations received will be distributed to Oldsmar Cares to be given to needy area residents. Each donated item equals up to a $1 credit to the late feel fine. Lost or damaged book fees are not applicable. For more information, contact the Oldsmar Public Library at 813-749-1178.

• Food for Fines
CLEARWATER - All Clearwater Public Library branches are offering an amnesty period for overdue materials in exchange for donation of non-perishable foods. The offer is valid from Monday, Nov. 18 through close of business Friday, Dec. 20. Last year the program netted literally tons of food and goods for the Religious Community Services Food Bank. Anyone who has fines due may bring canned goods or non-perishable food items to any Clearwater library branch and present them at the circulation desk with the overdue materials if available. Staff will waive any fines due and the donated food will go toward a holiday charity food drive. For more information, call 562-4970 or visit www.myclearwater.com/cpl.

Food and toy drives

• Food and toy drive
PALM HARBOR – The Palm Harbor Chamber of Commerce is collecting food and toy drive for the holidays Dec. 2-23. The beneficiary will be FEAST – The Palm Harbor area food pantry. Residents are asked to bring nonperishable food items and new toys to the chamber office, 1151 Nebraska Ave.

• Food and toy drive
TARPON SPRINGS - Tarpon springs Fire Rescue has begun it annual collection of non-perishable foods for their food baskets to help needy families put a holiday meal on their table at Christmastime. Food collection baskets donations are accepted at Tarpon Springs City Hall, Tarpon Springs Public Safety Building, Tarpon Springs Public Library, Tarpon Springs Recreation Center, Stonehenge Mobile Home Park and Tarpon Shores Mobile Home Park. New unwrapped toys will also be accepted at these locations. Local residents that are referred through the schools and community groups receive the food baskets. For more information, call 727-938-3737.

Toy drives

• Fill the Truck Toy Drive
CLEARWATER – Walmart and The Salvation Army are sponsoring the second annual Fill the Truck Toy Drive, which will bring hundreds of thousands of toys to children across the country.

Upper Pinellas County residents can participate at these Walmart stores through Dec. 15.

• Largo: 1111 Missouri Ave., N.
• Palm Harbor: 35404 U.S. 19 N.
• Oldsmar: 3801 Tampa Road
• Tarpon Springs: 41232 U.S. 19 N.
• Clearwater only through Dec. 7: 23106 U.S. 19

On Dec. 7, the Walmart store at 23106 U.S. 19 and Coachman Road in Clearwater will be hosting an event to include The Salvation Army truck, Captain Kettle mascot and brass ensemble playing holiday tunes from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Shoppers can stop by and have their picture taken with Captain Kettle, donate a new, unwrapped toy for a local child in need, and enjoy the music of the season.

Most-needed items are for children ages 10-12. Sports equipment like basketballs or footballs, action figures, skateboards, board games and dolls for all ages will help us provide for local children who might otherwise go without this Christmas.

Donation boxes will be located next to the red kettles Monday through Saturday and at the customer service desks on Sunday through Dec. 15. The toys will be distributed through The Salvation Army Joy Center Toyland, where parents are able to “shop” for toys for their children and receive a food basket, all for free because of the generosity of the community. Individuals or groups that would like to sign-up to help with the toy distribution, can do so at www.salvationarmyclearwater.org.

• Toy drive volunteers
CLEARWATER – The Marine Corps League’s Morris F. Dixon Detachment 54 seeks volunteers to help with its Toys for Tots program. Those who want to help may call Ron Ashley at 517-6508.

• Toys for Tykes
SEMINOLE - 10th annual Toys for Tykes children's benefit, Sunday, Dec. 8, 1 to 7 p.m., at Screwie Louie's Porpoise Pub, 8701 Seminole Blvd. Call 393-7616. Hosted by John Sullivan, TJ Sutton and Lou Falco. Three live bands, Diamond Gray, Sammy Davis Jr. and a special VIP guest appearance. Activities include raffles, games and auctions.

• Holiday happy hour toy drive
INDIAN ROCKS BEACH – A holiday toy drive and happy hour, hosted by Century 21 and the Indian Rocks Beach Homeowners Association, is Wednesday, Dec. 11, 6 to 9 p.m., at Century 21 Beggins, 1511 Gulf Blvd. Toys for all ages are needed. Anyone unable to attend the happy hour may drop toys off at Century 21 Beggins or call Kathy Mac at 430-8974 and arrangements will be made to pick the gifts up.

• Toys for Tots
OLDSMAR - The Oldsmar Fire Department is participating in the Toys for Tots program. Residents can contribute to the Santa program to help the less fortunate by bringing a small, unwrapped new toy for the Toys for Tots bin. Toys are needed for newborns to 14 years of age. All donations for the Toys for Tots program must be brought to the fire station, 225 Pine Ave. N., by Friday, Dec. 13.

• Suncoast Brotherhood Toy Run
DUNEDIN – The 33rd annual Suncoast Brotherhood Toy Run is Sunday, Dec. 15. The run leaves with a police escort at noon from the Kmart parking lot, 26996 U.S.19 N., and travel through the city of Dunedin. Proceeds will benefit Pinellas County Foster & Adoptive Parents Association. Everyone is asked to bring a $5 donation and new unwrapped toy. The gift giving celebration is at American Legion Post 275, 360 Wilson St. Enjoy live music by the Jenna Stone Band and vendors. For more information, call Chuckles at 727-736-4664 or Tony at 727-678-1876.

• Toys for Tots collection site
SEMINOLE - The Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate Bayou/Bardmoor office is an official drop site for Toys for Tots as announced by Manager Scott Humphries. The office is currently accepting donations. New, unwrapped toys may be brought to the office and placed in the Toys for Tots collection bin now through Monday, Dec. 16. The Bayou/Bardmoor office is located at 10801 Starkey Road, Suite 21, in the Bardmoor Plaza (next to the Dollar Tree Store) at the corner of Starkey and Bryan Dairy.

• Toys for Tots collection site
SEMINOLE – Bellezza Tan & Spa, 8460 Seminole Blvd., is a drop-off location for the Toys for Tots program sponsored by The Marine Corps Reserve.

• Toy drive
DUNEDIN – Back N' Balance, 1059 Broadway, Suite C, will host a toy drive Dec. 16-20. Patients who bring a new, unwrapped toy to an appointment at Back N' Balance between Dec. 16 and 20 will receive an adjustment for $25. For information, call 733-6501.

• Christmas Toys for Kids
DUNEDIN - Sound Mind Ministries of Dunedin is sponsoring the third annual Christmas Toys for Kids program to provide for 20 families. The goal is to help 80 children from birth to age 16 through the Christmas Room where parents, grandparents or guardians can choose up to two or three stocking stuffers and gifts per child. The Christmas Room will be open Friday, Dec. 20, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., at the Dunedin office, 1130 Pinehurst Road. Sound Mind Ministries is a nonprofit 501-C3 organization. Donations for the Christmas Room are tax deductible. Call 329-6463.

• Toy drive
TARPON SPRINGS - Tarpon springs Police Department provides gifts to children in the Tarpon Springs area whose families are having difficult times. The department is asking for help in making the wishes of these local area children come true. New unwrapped gifts for children age 5-14 years are needed. Cash donations are also accepted to purchase special “wish list” items. Please make checks payable to Tarpon Springs Police Department Cops & Kids Program. Gifts are accepted through Dec. 20, at the Tarpon Springs Police Department, 444 S. Huey Ave. For more information, call Officer Quinones at 727-934-4800.

• Giving Tree
SAFETY HARBOR – The Safety Harbor Public Library, 101 Second Street N., is sponsoring a Giving Tree in their lobby to support the children of Mattie Williams Neighborhood Family Center. The tree is adorned with ornaments noting children’s first names, ages, and their gift wish. Patrons may select an ornament, purchase the gift and return it to the library unwrapped with the gift tag attached by Friday, Dec. 20. There are 100 ornaments on the tree. Call 724-1525 ext. 4106.

Holiday fundraisers

• Mayors breakfast
OLDSMAR – Join the Upper Tampa Bay and Safety Harbor chambers of commerce on Friday, Dec. 6 to help Oldsmar Mayor Doug Bevis and Safety Harbor Mayor Joe Ayoub raise funds to support the needy families in the area. Bevis and Ayoub will be pouring coffee at the Safety Harbor Resort and Spa starting at 7:30 a.m. Tickets are $25 each and are available at the two chamber offices.

This will be the first joint appearance by the two mayors who are continuing the long-standing tradition of spreading holiday goodwill. The breakfast is organized by the Safety Harbor Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Upper Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce, the cities of Oldsmar and Safety Harbor, the Neighborhood Family Center and the Oldsmar-East Lake Rotary Club.

The proceeds will provide holiday food and gifts to families in need who are identified by the Mattie Williams Neighborhood Family Center and our Community Policing Officers of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.

Anyone unable to attend the breakfast can donate an item for the auction or make a donation by calling the Safety Harbor Chamber at 726-2890 or the Upper Tampa Bay Chamber at 855-4233. Miniature decorated Christmas trees are a long part of the tradition of this great event.

• Ride & Run with the Stars
TIERRA VERDE – Twentieth annual Ride & Run with the Stars, fundraiser for the Pinellas County Sheriff's Christmas Sharing Project, Saturday, Dec. 7, 8 a.m. to noon, at Fort De Soto Park. Registration $35. Call 582-5959 or register online at www.rideandrunwiththestars.com. Registration forms also available at the Sheriff's Office, 10750 Ulmerton Road. Main events include a 25-mile bike ride, 10K Family Fun Run, 1-mile Family Fun Run/Walk and a new 5K chip-timed for fast and accurate results. Other activities include silent auction, climbing wall, prizes, food for participants and a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus who arrive in a Sheriff's helicopter. Proceeds pay to provide holiday toys and food for families in need. Visit www.facebook.com/RRWTS.

• Christmas Music Benefit for the Homeless
ST. PETERSBURG - Sacred Lands annual Christmas Music Benefit for the Homeless is Friday, Dec. 20. Bring an item for the Christmas Potluck Dinner and enjoy live music. Admission is $10. All proceeds and item donations on this night will go to help the homeless. Our lineup of performers will begin at 6 p.m. Items will be collected for St. Vincents Homeless Shelter, who say that new socks and underwear are like "gold." Enter via 1700 Park St. N., St. Petersburg. Turn off Park Street on to Elbow Lane. Turn LEFT before the boat parking lot and enter wooded gate entrance. For more information, call 727-367-3592.

Help for seniors

• Elves for Elders Project
The St. Petersburg Office on Aging needs donations to provide holiday cheer for approximately 529 senior citizens. Donations of cash or gift cards are needed. For more information, call 727-893-7102.

• Be a Santa to a Senior
Home Instead Senior Care is teaming up with non-profit agencies and area retailers to sponsor Be a Santa to a Senior – a program that collects, wraps and delivers gifts to lonely and needy seniors in Pinellas County. The program runs through Dec. 19. Gifts will be delivered Dec. 19-23.

The program – run by the local Home Instead Senior Care office in partnership with area retailers, volunteers and members of the community – helps ensure isolated seniors receive gifts and companionship during the holidays. This can be a difficult time for many, especially those who live alone or have lost spouses and loved ones.

An estimated 27 percent of people 65 and older (10.8 million people) are widowed, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Further, the Administration on Aging reports about 28 percent (11.8 million) non-institutionalized people 65 and older live alone.

Retailers participating in Be a Santa to a Senior will display Christmas trees through Dec. 19 that feature ornaments with seniors’ first names and their gift requests. Holiday shoppers can pick an ornament from these trees, buy the items listed and return them unwrapped to the store, with the ornament attached.

Be a Santa to a Senior trees are located at:

• Bealls Outlet Store, 3635 49th St. N., St. Petersburg
• Bealls Outlet Store, 12030 Indian Rocks Road, Largo
• Bealls Outlet Store,41318 U.S. 19 N., Tarpon Springs
• Bealls Outlet Store, 11173 Park Blvd, Seminole
• Bealls Outlet Store, 914 Patricia Ave., Dunedin
• Bealls Outlet Store, 1271 S. Missouri Ave., Clearwater
• Home Instead Senior Care, 1799 N. Belcher Road, Suite B, Clearwater
• Home Instead Senior Care, 1208 66th St. N., St. Petersburg
• Home Instead Senior Care, 7250 Ulmerton Road, Largo
• Home Instead Senior Care, 1208 66th St. N., St. Petersburg
• Shapes Fitness, 5651 38th Ave. N., St. Petersburg

The local Home Instead Senior Care office will enlist volunteers from its staff, senior-care business associates, non-profit workers and others to collect, wrap and distribute the gifts to local seniors who might otherwise spend the holiday alone. For more information about the program, visit BeaSantatoaSenior.com or call 727-799-1400.

Other ways to help

• Christmas tree auction
Saturday, Dec. 7, JD's Restaurant & Lounge will have a silent auction of fully decorated Christmas trees from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The trees, donated by local businesses and residents will be each valued at more than $300. Proceeds of the auction will benefit the Indian Rocks Beach Homeowners Association and the VFW's toy drives.

• St. Petersburg Salvation Army Angel Tree through Dec. 13
The St. Petersburg Salvation Army is offering the community an opportunity to help by hosting an Angel Tree in offices, lobbies, stores and churches. Decorate the Angel Tree with provided Angel Tags. Each tag contains helpful information about a child. Employees, staff, customers and church members then purchase Christmas gifts and return them to the tree for Salvation Army to collect and distribute.

Volunteers are needed at the Angel Tree Booth located inside Tyrone Square Mall (by JCPenney) to help members of the public select, register, and return gifts for Angels. Hours are flexible from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Minimum two-hour shift. For more information, call Gail Stark at 727-550-8080, ext. 332, email Gail_Stark@uss.salvationarmy.org or visit www.sastpete.org.

• Red Kettle Bell Ringers
Clearwater and Upper Pinellas County Salvation Army needs volunteer Red Kettle Bell Ringers through Dec. 24. Help raise funds to provide programs 365 days a year. This is a great opportunity for groups and individuals. Visit www.salvationarmyflorida.org/clearwater/volunteer.

• St. Petersburg Salvation Army Bell Ringing through Dec. 24
Be an ambassador to the community for The Salvation Army. Families, churches, clubs, groups or company employees can ring bells at a community location Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., to help us raise funds and give hope to families in our community throughout the year. Minimum shift two hours. Saturdays are especially reserved for volunteers. To register call Gail Stark 550-8080, ext. 332.

• St. Petersburg Salvation Army volunteers
The Salvation Army needs volunteers at the Citadel Corps, 3800 Ninth Ave. N., St. Petersburg for the following activities. For more information, call Gail Stark at 727-550-8080, ext. 332, email Gail_Stark@uss.salvationarmy.org or visit www.sastpete.org.

• Christmas Food Sorting: Dec. 2-6. Volunteers will sort food collected from the fall school food drives and prepare bags for needy families. Hours are flexible from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Lifting required.

• Christmas Toy Sorting: Dec. 9-13. Volunteers will assist staff in sorting and packaging toys for needy children in the community. Hours are flexible from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Ten volunteers are needed each day.

• Christmas Distribution: Dec. 17-19. Forty volunteers are needed each day to help with distribution of food, toys and other assistance to families from community. Volunteers will work as escorts, runners, loaders, checkers, toy movers and carolers. Relational volunteers are needed. Flexible hours from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each day. Clean-up in afternoon. Forty volunteers per day are needed.

• Joy Center Toyland Distribution

Clearwater and Upper Pinellas County Salvation Army needs volunteers for its The Joy Center Toyland Distribution Thursday, Dec. 19, 8:30 a.m. To 3 p.m. Help families with their toy selection, distribute food baskets, and assist the families in getting their items to their vehicles. Visit www.salvationarmyflorida.org/clearwater/volunteer.

Christmas meals, toy distributions

• Family Christmas giveaway
Here We Grow Foundation Inc. will distribute the family Christmas packages Dec. 9-13. Donations can be taken to 1171 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. Ideas include one gift that the whole family can share; one gift per adult, one to two toys per child, one-two clothing items per child, and food items for a Christmas meal. Call 1-888-958-2788 or email herewegrowfoundation@ymail.com.

• Free Christmas buffet
The People That Love Church and Mission, 817 Fifth Ave. N., St. Petersburg, is offering a free Christmas buffet on Dec. 21, 3:30 p.m. The mission offers its free toys for kids’ day on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, 11 a.m. All children accompanied by a parent or guardian will receive a new toy and other goodies. The Christmas Eve buffet begins at 8 p.m., offering a free evening of food and joy for homeless guests and lonely neighbors. The mission ends the holiday season with a New Year’s Eve Buffet on Dec. 31, 8 p.m.

• St. Petersburg Christmas Eve community dinner
The Salvation Army needs 40 volunteers for the Christmas Eve Community Dinner on Dec. 24. Come help prepare, serve and clean up after the Community Christmas Dinner and sit down to enjoy a holiday meal with others. Meal times are from 2 to 4 p.m. for residents and the community. For more information, call Gail Stark at 727-550-8080, ext. 332, email Gail_Stark@uss.salvationarmy.org or visit www.sastpete.org.

After Christmas

• After Christmas assistance, Jan. 6-31 The St. Petersburg Salvation Army needs volunteers from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. to check dates and stock food donated to the Social Services Department in the pantry at 340 14th Ave. S., St. Petersburg. For more information, call Gail Stark at 727-550-8080, ext. 332, email Gail_Stark@uss.salvationarmy.org or visit www.sastpete.org.

Article published on Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013
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