ST. PETERSBURG — The St. Petersburg Metropolitan Section of the National Council of Negro Women, Incorporated sponsored an Extended-Stay Families In Transition Expo on Saturday, Jan. 25 in the Maximo Mall Marina parking lot.
The expo was made possible by a service award from the 2020 MLK Day of Service sponsored by the Florida Legislature to encourage organizations to serve their communities on MLK Day and beyond.
The expo focus was to reach individuals who live along the 34th Street corridor whose circumstances have resulted in them residing in extended stay hotels. NCNW’s effort to remove the stigma of living in extended-stay hotels resulted in our partnering with community-based organizations that aid families in transition.
On MLK Day, several members of NCNW canvassed areas hardest hit by homelessness, Williams Park, St. Paul de Vincent, Mirror Lake and the city bus depot. Sandwiches, resource cards and informational flyers with the date of the expo were passed out to those who needed assistance.
On the day of the event, Empath Health, Daystar Life Center, All Kidney Patients Support Group, Inc., Bay City Court #109, New Pleasant Grove Baptist Church, Christian Center Generation of Hope, St. Petersburg Health Dept. Outreach Team, The Well, 211 Pinellas County, IHOP, Dunkin Donuts, and House of Styles Salon offered a variety of resources to assist those attending the expo.
To prepare for the expo, more than 125 care packages containing basic health needs and food items were assembled by NCNW volunteers earlier in the week. Blankets were provided by Cross and Anvil, a non-profit arm of Greater Mt. Zion AME Church. Heavy’s Food Truck was on site, the day of the expo, to provide a hot cooked meal to those attending.
More than 75 families and individuals were serviced on-site. At the conclusion of the expo, the remaining care packages and resource cards were distributed in the community in the areas of Mirror Lake, Williams Park, Kenwood Hotel and the Salvation Army.
The St. Petersburg Metropolitan Section critical mission statement is “we are blessed to be a blessing,” and those recipients of our efforts expressed their appreciation and thankfulness. In the words of Dr. Martin L. King, Jr., “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?”