CLEARWATER — Ruth Eckerd Hall recently partnered with the Salvation Army to host three upcoming food distributions, allowing the organization to serve twice as many families during each event due to the performing arts center’s property size.

While the Salvation Army continues to conduct free drive-thru food distribution events at its social services campus in Clearwater, the property can only accommodate so many vehicles at a time due to limited parking lot space.

The Salvation Army, the nation’s largest social services organization with more than 7,600 service locations across the country, is increasing efforts to meet requests for food. With unemployment at an all- time high, and money from stimulus checks decreasing, more families continue to need food.

“Ruth Eckerd Hall is a natural partner for The Salvation Army,” said Major Ted Morris, Corps Officer for the Salvation Army of Clearwater and Upper Pinellas County. “Our School of Music staff have attended their Lunch and Learns, and are working to find ways to provide our students with an opportunity to take their performing arts experience to the next level. Ruth Eckerd’s programs for children are a blessing for our students as they would not have the chance to be involved in such high caliber programming.”

“We’re honored to support our friends at the Salvation Army in their effort to get food to families needing help,” said Susan M. Crocket, Ruth Eckerd Hall president and CEO. “We are a community in need and by combining our resources, we’re able to serve more.”

The Salvation Army, in partnership with Ruth Eckerd Hall and the city of Clearwater Police Department, will host drive-thru food distribution events at 1111 McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater. The first took place on June 12. The next event will be Friday, June 19, 10 a.m. The last food distribution event will take place Friday, June 26, 10 a.m. Each event will continue until all items have been distributed. To comply with CDC guidelines, recipients must be in a vehicle and stay in their vehicles during the distribution. Food boxes will contain milk, cheese, chicken, and other fresh produce as well as shelf-stable food.

The Salvation Army in Clearwater and Upper Pinellas needs support to be able to continue to provide needed services throughout this pandemic. To learn more and support the Salvation Army’s efforts, visit SalvationArmyClearwater.org.

GSWCF offers Summer Camp in a Box experience to families

Girl Scouts of West Central is offering an alternative summer camp experience to families in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Summer Camp in a Box gives girls components of a traditional Girl Scout summer camp experience from the comfort and safety of their homes — whether they are a Girl Scout or not.

There are eight different weeks of programming starting with the traditional camp box on June 15 and ending with Art Expressions on Aug. 3. It’s not necessary to have purchased a previous week’s box in order to enjoy the full benefits of another box. Included in every Summer Camp in a Box are engaging activities for each day of the week, Monday through Friday, along with the majority of supplies needed. Each activity can last up to two hours a day. Participants will also have access to more than five hours of live, interactive virtual activities in order to maintain the camper-staff relationship that is essential to a Girl Scout Summer Camp experience.

Examples of activities are as follows:

• On-demand video instructions

• Postcards to mail to friends

• “Campfire” recipes

• Friendship bracelets

• Theme-specific activities

• Online flag ceremonies

• Virtual campfire sing-alongs

• Virtual cabin reflection sessions with camp staff

Summer Camp in a Box is available to non-Girl Scout members for $75 a box. Girl Scout members are able to purchase at $25 a box. Financial aid opportunities are available at a $10 per box discount.

Families are expected to provide essential household items like scissors, tape, glue, pens, and pencils. Perishable food items for activities and “campfire” recipes must be purchased separately. An Essential Supply Box is available for an additional $25.

Summer Camp in a Box is the product of a cross-collaborative effort across multiple GSWCF departments. For information, visit www.gswcf.org/summercamp

Grant awarded to SAGES to provide fall prevention kits to seniors

CLEARWATER — Pinellas Community Foundation’s Senior Citizens Services recently awarded a grant to SAGES Theater Inc.

The grant will be used to provide senior living communities in Pinellas County with safe-at-home do-it-yourself fall prevention kits. The kit features a DVD of “Denying Gravity,” the award-winning play telling the realistic story of an energetic retiree who experiences a fall in her home. Home is the No. 1 place where falls occur and many older adults, in a high-risk category for COVID-19, are staying home while unaware of the dangers around them in their “safe” place. Theater as seen in SAGES’ “plays with purpose” is enjoyable and effective as education. Included with guidelines for viewing will be critical tips from Regional Pinellas 911 partnering with SAGES on this project.

The live performance was filmed at the historic Bilheimer Capitol Theatre in Clearwater with two area fire rescue heroes in cameo roles.

For more information, visit sagestheater.org, email playswithpurpose@sagestheater.org or call 727-536-7076.

Rays Baseball Foundation, Rowdies Soccer Fund donate funds to Girls Inc.

PINELLAS PARK — Girls Inc. of Pinellas was selected to receive a COVID-19 relief grant in the amount of $5,000 from the Rays Baseball Foundation and Rowdies Soccer Fund.

Because of this support, the organization is better equipped to positively and effectively impact our community’s most critical needs, especially as it pertains to providing a safe and educational environment for those girls from families of essential workers. Girls Inc. of Pinellas continues to be a viable and vital resource to and for those families because of this support.

The Tampa Bay Rays have consistently shown a strong commitment to the community by providing assistance to neighbors in need during this time. In response to the current COVID-19 crisis, the Rays Baseball Foundation and Rowdies Soccer Fund has committed over $1 million in financial support to nonprofit organizations in the Tampa Bay region.

“This is an unprecedented time in our nation’s history and the work you are doing to serve our most vulnerable populations is very much appreciated,” said Stephen Thomas, Tampa Bay Rays executive director, praising Girls Inc.

For information about Girls Inc. of Pinellas, visit www.girlsinc-pinellas.org or call 727-544-6230.

United Way Suncoast receives $50K donation from Rays Foundation

United Way Suncoast recently received $50,000 in emergency funding to its COVID-19 Relieve and Recovery Fund from the Tampa Bay Rays Baseball Foundation to provide much needed relief to agency partners on the front lines providing immediate relief to individuals and families dealing with this current global pandemic.

“United Way Suncoast, our donors, and volunteers are working hard to serve our community at a time of greatest need and the recovery that is so desperately needed. Our region’s business community and many generous individuals have contributed to our COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund to ensure that we have the immediate resources to support the most vulnerable in our community and we are truly grateful for the generous support of the Tampa Bay Rays Baseball Foundation during this critical time,” said United Way CEO Jessica Muroff.

“United Way Suncoast is an invaluable asset in our community,” said Brian Auld, Rays president. “We are proud to support their important work with this grant to provide emergency food, shelter, financial and mental health needs to our friends and neighbors during the COVID-19 crisis.”

United Way Suncoast fights for the education and financial stability of every person in the community through educational programs that give children the skills to succeed, helping adults achieve long-term financial stability and activating caring individuals through volunteerism.

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