In recognition of those who work tirelessly to end poverty, hunger and homelessness, Bishop Gregory Parkes of the Diocese of St. Petersburg shared a meal with the homeless residents of Pinellas Hope while honoring the volunteers who prepare and serve them meals. He also blessed 20 new Hope Cottages™ that will provide shelter and security to homeless individuals in our community. This event was held on November 18, 2019 during National Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week.
“We’re here to thank our Hunger Heroes who come from the community to make sure we have a meal for the folks in our shelter every day,” said Danielle Husband, Catholic Charities Director of Veterans and Homeless Services, at the start of the event.
Representatives from twenty-three groups were in attendance to receive a certificate of appreciation from Bishop Parkes. (View list of Hunger Heroes here.) The groups volunteer to prepare, deliver and serve meals to the residents of Pinellas Hope. They represent the diversity of the community and include businesses, Christian churches of various denominations, local schools and Temple Ahavat Shalom.
Bishop Parkes led all those gathered with this prayer of blessing.
“Let us pray that Christ will enter these cottages and bless these cottages with His presence. May He always be here among you. May He nurture you in charity, share in your joys and comfort you in your sorrows.”
Bishop Parkes also expressed gratitude to the volunteers and staff who dedicate themselves to this ministry to the homeless of Pinellas County.
“For 12 years, Pinellas Hope has been a place for those who are looking for shelter, food, clothing, and a caring heart. Today we ask the Lords’ blessings upon those who will reside within these Hope Cottages. May they always know of God’s love for them through the love, concern and compassion they receive from each of us and especially from the volunteers who give so generously of their time and talent,” said Bishop Parkes.
The new Hope Cottages will increase the capacity for shelter at Pinellas Hope from 230 to 260. Hope Cottages are 20-foot steel shipping containers that have been converted into living quarters that provide safety, warmth and protection.
Catholic Charities, an accredited nonprofit agency since 1945, is a leader in serving the poor and vulnerable within Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco, Hernando, and Citrus counties. Under the auspices of the Diocese of St. Petersburg, it served nearly 13,000 individuals during the last fiscal year with services including providing food and shelter, immigration assistance, medical screening, pregnancy and adoption assistance and disaster relief. Learn more at www.ccdosp.org.
Pinellas Hope, a ministry of Catholic Charities, opened in December 2007 to address the need to provide the homeless with temporary shelter. What began as a pilot program has assisted over 10,000 men and women with shelter, food and services that address some of the underlying causes of homelessness (e.g., mental illness, substance abuse), returning nearly 6,000 to stable, permanent housing. Additional information is available at www.pinellashope.org.
The Diocese of St. Petersburg is comprised of over 461,000 Catholics and includes 74 parishes, 5 missions, 48 schools and early childhood centers, a university, and a variety of social service, health care, housing and pastoral ministries located within the five counties of Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Hernando and Citrus. Mass is celebrated in 12 languages and we are led by our fifth bishop, Most Reverend Gregory Parkes. Learn more at www.dosp.org.