Healthcare for the Homeless Program - December 17, 2011
St. Vincent de Paul was recently awarded a Major Grant in the amount of $300,000 over the course of 3 years from the Allegany Franciscan Ministries to improve the health of the homeless men and women that are served at the Night Shelter, Food Center, and single-room-occupancy transitional living program (Center of Hope). St. Vincent de Paul has partnered with Community Health Centers of Pinellas, a non-profit federally qualified health center to coordinate and provide preventative and primary care services to the people we serve. St. Vincent de Paul has also teamed up with a local taxi company to provide free transportation to and from appointments, making transportation more easily accessible and reliable for clients.
St. Vincent de Paul will support the work of the primary care provider by having an onsite Care Coordinator and an onsite Registered Dietitian. The Care Coordinator will evaluate and set-up appointments and transportation to Community Health Centers of Pinellas so that these individuals may receive the necessary and best possible healthcare possible. The Registered Dietitian will provide one-on-one and group sessions to staff and clients, working to provide nutritional counseling and specific meal plans to those individuals who would benefit from healthier meal options, i.e. clients with high blood pressure and diabetes.
Additionally, the grant money has enabled St. Vincent de Paul to create a community garden onsite for its Center of Hope residents. The garden will not only be used as a tool to teach homeless clients how to grow fresh fruits and vegetables, but it will also enable these individuals to work as a team, take pride in their accomplishments, build a sense of community, and get out and exercise. Excess produce from the community garden will be used by the Food Center to produce nutritional meals to our clientele.
St. Vincent de Paul is incredibly grateful to Allegany Franciscan Ministries for giving the organization the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of the homeless men and women who utilize the many programs it offers by giving them access to healthcare, a nutritionist, and a flourishing community garden.
Mobile Meals for Children Program - June 5th, 2012
St. Vincent de Paul is embarking on a new adventure with the help of the City of St. Petersburg, United Way of Tampa Bay, Pinellas County Schools, and Knights of Columbus to provide hot, healthy meals for 30 needy families in the community. Mobile Meals for Children is a 10-week pilot program that will run the course of the summer beginning on Saturday, June 9th and ending on Saturday August 11th. Meals will be prepared by St. Vincent de Paul staff and then hand delivered to surrounding neighborhoods by the Knights of Columbus two days a week between the hours of 4:30 - 6:00 p.m.
Because there are nearly 47,000 children who are currently food insecure in Pinellas County, St. Vincent de Paul and its collaborating partners are working to lower this number by providing meals to families who would otherwise go without. Mobile Meals for Children will save parents time and money, while eliminating the barrier of accessing reliable transportation or the means to provide healthy food options for supper, which many low-income families struggle with.
Referrals were made by the School District to eligible students whose families were interested in participating in the program. Within the first day of registration meal vouchers sold out, putting many eligible students on the waiting list to receive services. It is the hope of St. Vincent de Paul, the City of St. Petersburg, United Way of Tampa Bay, Pinellas County Schools, and Knights of Columbus, that Mobile Meals for Children will be successful and prove to be a much needed service in the community so that these agencies can secure future funding to continue the program throughout the 2012-13 school year. If you are interested in assiting with the delivery of meals throughout the week (Wednesdays and Saturdays), or would like to make a donation to the Mobile Meals for Children program, please contact Bill Beecher at 727-258-0892 for more details.