Tina is living in a tent at a makeshift campsite under a bridge with her life partner. She needed food, hygiene supplies and life-saving medication. She contacted us. We took her shopping and met all her immediate needs as well as working to get her enrolled in a program for free medication going forward.
Virginia moved back to St. Pete because her elderly father could no longer take care of himself. Upon her arrival, she found him living in squalor conditions, including a rat infestation. We immediately called one of our "Quagmire Commandos", Joanne Braccio of Maid to Order, who came to the rescue. She and her team gave the house a thorough cleaning and got pest control involved. We paid for part of it and Joanne donated the rest of the cost.
Marie and her young daughter were homeless until she found a job, working nights to pay for a flea-bag motel. Despite her conditions, she has a great make-it-happen attitude. She rides the bus 11 miles to work but gets off after midnight when there is no bus service. She was paying for Uber when possible but walking 11 miles when she didn't have the money. We bought her an electric bike and a rain suit, making it possible for her to get home in less than an hour, rain or shine.
Chris's story is particularly heartbreaking. A month ago, his sister suddenly and unexpectedly fell very ill and had to be hospitalized. She was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. It was terminal. It was her dying wish to spend her last days at home with family instead of at hospice. She was moved to Chris's home. As if that wasn't enough tragedy and stress to handle, Chris had been with his sister much of the time and was unable to work. We contacted his landlord to get confirmation of all this. It turned out they were very familiar with the good work we've been doing all over the greater St. Pete community. We arranged to pay Chris's rent and utilities for a month to ease his burden.
Angelique was hospitalized with pneumonia and was unable to work for 3 weeks and drained what little savings she had. She needed prescription medication, gas for her car to get back to work as well as take her child to school, and most importantly, to catch up on her rent. What a terribly rough time for her. The stress was surely an unbearable experience. We met her before Christmas, 2020. She confided in me that she was celebrating one year of sobriety and now two years! We are honored to help her get back in the saddle after being so ill. We took care of her rent for one month.
We started the I Love St. Pete Emergency Relief Fund in August, 2020 after a couple of brief, spontaneous fundraisers yielded incredible results. We realized that with the power of tens of thousands of generous group members, we had a responsibility to do more. In that first year, we helped more than 100 ILSP group members who were facing unexpected financial emergencies that had nowhere else to turn. Now, as a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization, your cash donations will be tax deductable and we will be capable of doing much, much more.