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Back to School Drive 2020

We are incredibly thankful for everyone who showed their support by donating to our Back to School Drive during this uncertain time. Thanks to generous hearts in our community, we were able to provide children with essential school supplies to start this school year. 

As we approached this year’s Back to School Drive -- similar to how we’ve all felt over the last few months -- we felt an immense degree of uncertainty. We were not sure whether our community would feel comfortable with donating items in-person like previous years, so our team created new ways to make donations online. We added an Amazon Wish List where donors could select specific items to be delivered directly to our office and offered the opportunity to “sponsor a backpack” filled with school supplies by making an online donation of $25. As schools began preparing for a new year that would be a mix between in-person, online, and hybrid learning, we adapted our donation lists with new items to help students learn virtually, such as USB flash drives and headphones. 

We were absolutely blown away, after receiving an outpouring amount of support from our community, we had a fully stocked school supply room ready to offer the families we serve an opportunity to “shop” (free of charge). Smiles and excitement filled the room each time a participant visited and picked out their very own supplies for their children.  Each donation made, small or large, will help set these students on the right track to excel in school. This opportunity wouldn’t have been possible without help from a community that believes in our mission and cares about kids. We can’t thank you enough for your support during this year’s school supply drive!

Our doors are always open for donations of all types - whether time, talent or treasure - to help women & families in our community. For a list of items we need urgently, please visit the donations section of our website.

 

HOPE bts thankyou

August: HOPE Hero

August HOPE Hero: Gregg

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About our HOPE Hero:

Gregg lived in Annapolis, Maryland, and Pittsburgh before moving to Florida four years ago. He graduated from the University of Maryland and spent his career as a supply chain manager for the food and beverage industry before retiring to Florida. Gregg volunteers with HOPE by dedicating time on the weekends and holidays to pick up donations from Publix and deliver them to our Emergency Safe Shelter. 

 

What have you learned while volunteering with HOPE?

What I have learned is that without a service like HOPE Family Services a lot of women in Manatee County who are abused would continue to fall victim to abuse with little or no option to escape. They would, along with their children, be stuck in a never-ending cycle of abuse.  

 

What advice would you give to a future volunteer or employee?

Whatever you do to volunteer with HOPE,  remember that you are doing good for people who need support in probably their darkest hours.

What motivates you to volunteer with this organization? 

Every time I deliver food to the shelter, I see the dedicated shelter staff that supports and tends to the needs of survivors of domestic violence. I see a staff that works hard with the survivors to help them become independent from their abusers. I also see a lot of very young children who are continuously supported by the shelter staff. I always feel motivated when I get to talk to the shelter staff and witness their dedication to HOPE’s mission, especially with Dawn, Kathy, Letty, Uganda, and many others.

 

Tell us about your most memorable accomplishment with this organization.

Moving the food donations from Fresh Market to Publix opened up an opportunity to add meat and produce to the donation list along with baked goods. I got that started just out of blind luck by simply asking if Publix would donate meat and produce. Moving the donations to Publix introduced an opportunity for many more boxes of donations, this was a huge win for the shelter and continues to be a win for them every week. 

 

Describe yourself using only film titles.

I love the movie Ben Hur, especially the line where the Roman Centurion says to Juda Ben Hur when he is a galley slave, "We keep you alive to serve this ship, so row well.....and live!" The Outlaw Josey Wales comes in a close second — Clint's the man! And last but not least, Vincent Price in the Last Man on Earth, Vincent saves the world from the Vampire Pandemic and it’s a great 60s Horror movie.

 

Is there something that excites you so much it keeps you awake the night before?

Driving a thousand miles from Maryland to Florida in one day. I've done it many times over 40 years before we moved down here permanently.

 

What’s your pizza order?

I like meat on my pizza. My wife likes veggies. I always say, "Hey! If I wanted veggies on my pizza I'd order a salad!" I want meat on my pizza: pepperoni, sausage, ham, bacon......yummy! So what do we order every Friday.......veggies!  (Mostly Greek Pizza)

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We truly appreciate all of your hard work and dedication to our mission! 

September: HOPE Hero

September HOPE Hero: Jim

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About our HOPE Hero:

Jim grew up in Dover, New Hampshire, and graduated from Dover High School.  He moved to Florida seven years ago and began helping at HOPE Chest by organizing and rearranging the furniture department and helping unload and load furniture donations. He continues to volunteer at HOPE Chest to help make an impact on survivors of domestic violence. 

 

What have you learned while volunteering with HOPE?

The number one takeaway for me has been how nice it feels to help others. 

 

What advice would you give to a future volunteer or employee?

If you have spare time and want to help others, HOPE Chest is the place to volunteer! The rewards are much greater than expected.

 

What motivates you to volunteer with this organization? 

Once I started volunteering, I got to meet the other wonderful volunteers and staff, now they are my Florida family! I have never met such wonderful people!

 

Tell us about your most memorable accomplishment with this organization.

The very first time I had a client who was so grateful for our help, she cried. It made me so happy to help!

 

Describe the most incredible view you've ever seen

My daughter being handed to me after her birth. 

 

What would your pet say about you if we asked for a reference?

She would say I’m reliable and that I take care of my loved ones and my responsibilities.

 

What’s your pizza order?

Oma's Pizza and Italian Restuarant's white pizza!


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We truly appreciate all of your hard work and dedication to our mission! 

October: HOPE Hero

October HOPE Hero: Dan

About our HOPE Hero:

Dan was born in Sharon, Pa just outside of Pittsburgh, graduated from Saint Francis University with a degree in Sociology, and later earned a Masters in Hospital & Health Administration from Xavier University. Dan has been dedicated to supporting the mission of HOPE for 16 years and is the current Board Chairman for HOPE Family Services.

What have you learned while volunteering with HOPE?

The small things we can do for other people can really make a difference and have a big impact on the recipient.

What advice would you give to a future volunteer or employee?

Do not underestimate the impact you have on those around you.

What motivates you to volunteer with this organization? 

We are a valuable community resource — our mission is to reach out and serve those who are in a difficult situation and need the loving help that only HOPE has the means to provide them.

Tell us about your most memorable accomplishment with this organization.

About 10 to 12 years ago, I lead a day-long retreat with the HOPE Staff where many of the ideas for today’s programs and facilities had their origin. 

Describe the most incredible view you've ever seen

Wow, I have been fortunate to have so many: Looking out at the Great Wall of China, coming up on the menagerie of animals at a watering hole while on a photo safari in South Africa, schools of fish while diving, and always the view from my front porch looking in! 

What would your pet say about you if we asked for a reference?

I always take time to share a kind word and to give a good pat on the neck. 

What’s your pizza order?

Pepperoni, Mushrooms, Sausage, and Black Olives.


We truly appreciate all of your hard work and dedication to our mission! 

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