Jeffery Johnson, manager of the Campbell Park Resource Center, and the SPPD showed up and out at the Campbell Park Resource Center back-to-school event last Saturday.
BY KARIN DAVIS-THOMPSON, Staff Writer
ST. PETERSBURG — With a new location and a lot more space, Jeffery Johnson, manager of the Campbell Park Resource Center, said he is excited about what his organization can do for St. Petersburg residents.
The center held a grand opening last Saturday for its new, larger space located in the rear of John Hopkins Middle School.
A resource fair was stationed in the cafeteria of JHOP, and on the outside, Feeding Tampa Bay provided fresh and pantry stable foods for the crowds. Of course, free food, music and activities for the children were in full force.
The resource center, under the umbrella of United Way Suncoast, provides financial assistance for families struggling to pay their utility bills, as well as career awareness, credit restoration and legal advice. Residents will also have an opportunity to attend classes on a variety of topics, including tenant law and budgeting 101.
“We are a one-stop-shop for families,” Johnson said. “Bay Area Legal is onsite to provide legal advice, and the Pinellas Urban League is here to assist with economic development.”
To date, the two-year-old center has helped more than 1,000 St. Pete residents with a goal of increasing that number with the addition of the permanent food pantry in partnership with Feeding Tampa Bay.
“We will provide residents in Campbell Park, Melrose and John Hopkins with food twice a week,” said Johnson. “But we will also take referrals from our partner agencies. If they bring a family to us and tell us they are in need of food, we will make sure they get it.”
Other resource center partners include the City of St. Petersburg, Pinellas County Schools, and Duke Energy, who provided a $1 million grant so services could be offered at no cost to the community.
Johnson, 36, said he has no doubt that others will donate to the center to ensure services continue at no cost for many years to come.
“We are going to make it work,” he said. “We have made a 10-year commitment to this area.”
Finding a way to make a difference is something Johnson is all too familiar with, making his way to this area as a global ambassador for Beyonce’s BEYGOOD Foundation, an organization dedicated to finding ways to make a difference in communities all around the world.
Though Beyonce’s foundation, Johnson, in partnership with United Way, began a one-day empowerment seminar for teenage girls in Tampa Bay. Now in its fifth year in Hillsborough, the program has caught the eye of the Pinellas County school district with officials researching the idea of making it a school field trip in April 2020 for girls interested in participating.
“We could potentially go from serving about 500 girls to 5,000,” Johnson stated.
Johnson’s partnership with the United Way as Beyonce’s ambassador gave him the chance to work with organizations former CEO who asked him to manage the center.
“With my experience in higher education and as an administrator, the CEO told me about the program (resource center) and asked if I would build it up,” Johnson said.
Two years later, the center has grown, and while the initial target area began with Campbell Park, Johnson said any resident of St. Petersburg in need of assistance is welcomed.
The Campbell Park Resource Center is located in building 7 on the John Hopkins Middle School campus with a separate entrance on Ninth Avenue. Hours of operation are Monday through Thursday from 8-5 p.m. and on Fridays from 8-3 p.m
For more information, visit www.unitedwaysuncoast.org/campbell-park.
To reach Karin Davis-Thompson, email firstname.lastname@example.org