CLEARWATER – The Board of Directors for the Homeless Emergency Project recently honored community donors at its Green Society Reception, which recognized donors who give at least $1,000 on an annual basis.
More than 45 years ago, Barbara Green and her late husband, Rev. Otic C. “Preacher” Green, began offering shelter to individuals and families. Because of the overwhelming need in the community, their outreach quickly expanded to include food, clothing and support services for men, women and children in crisis.
To acknowledge their profound contributions to the Tampa Bay region and lifelong dedication to helping those less fortunate, HEP’s Board of Directors created a giving society in Barb and Otis’s name: The HEP Green Society.
Recognizing donors who contribute $1,000 or more in a calendar year, membership in The Green Society demonstrates commitment to and support of critical HEP services. It also helps to fund essential programs that deal with the underlying issues of homelessness and inspires others to support causes that help homeless and low-income individuals, families and veterans.
The inaugural Green Society Reception was hosted at the Belleair Country Club, with more than 100 attendees. The highlight of the evening was a speech delivered by former HEP client, Brian Monaghan. An Army veteran, he was wounded while in service. Upon returning home, he struggled with a prescription drug addiction that left him alienated from family and friends. He was living on the street, according to an HEP press release. Eventually, he was approached by a police officer who offered him refuge at the Homeless Emergency Project.
“As soon as I walked into HEP, something clicked,” Monaghan said. “I knew I had found a way out of the life that I had been living.”
Three years later, Monaghan is living clean and sober, has reunited with his family, and has secured veterans benefits. He now owns a condo, serves as vice president of his condo association and volunteers regularly at HEP. He also credits the shelter for saving his life.
“I don’t know where I would have ended up if it weren’t for HEP. Donors, like those in HEP’s Green Society, aren’t just giving money,” Monaghan said. “They are giving individuals, families and vets like me a second chance at life. I can’t express enough gratitude for the help and guidance I received in turning my circumstances around.” He then pulled a Purple Heart out of his shirt collar. “I pawned my Purple Heart years ago, when I was in a bad state of mind. I received help in tracking it down, and now I wear it every day. It’s a reminder of what I lost, and what HEP helped me to find once more: my life.”