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Free Christmas and holiday programs Pinellas County.

For families in Pinellas County with either a child or senior member of the home, several non-profits, churches and charity organizations may provide free food, Christmas toys, meals, gift certificates, and other support. There are resources such as the Toys for Tots in Pinellas County as well as Salvation Army Angel Tree, a free Christmas gift shop, Thanksgiving turkey dinners, and more. The scope and availability of each program will change from year to year and they rely heavily on donations as well as volunteers from the community

The main reason these programs were created was to spread the holiday joy, in particular at Christmas. So children may get free toys such as Legos, video games, Barbie or other dolls, matchbox cars, clothing or other gifts. Senior citizens, including those that are homebound or in a nursing home, may be given a free home delivered meal in Pinellas County. The homeless can also benefit. Volunteers from agencies such as the Salvation Army may handle many of these services, but other groups participate as well.

Some of the main programs, such as Angel Tree or Adopt a Family, are noted below. Many churches or charities may also have meals or small Xmas oys as well for people in their parish. The registration period will usually take place in the early fall.

Christmas Toy Shop
Main address is 550 16th Street North, Saint Petersburg, Florida 33705. Call (727) 898-3962
The location distributes refurbished or on some occasion, new used books, toys, bicycles and games to needy children from low income families. There can be crafts, sporting goods, video consoles and much more. It takes place during the fall or Christmas season.

Referrals are needed from social service or other agencies, with a focus on single mothers and the working poor For example, a case worker at DCF can offer one, maybe a community action agency, and anyone else that the applicant received support from. The program operates by donations, so please bring gift cards, vouchers, games clothing, books, or more. Volunteers from Pinellas will sort and organize them for distribution to the less fortunate.

Saint Pete and Pinellas County Salvation Army
340 14th Ave. S., Saint Petersburg, FL 33701. Call (727) 550-8080
The main program is Angel Tree and Adopt a Family. In addition, Salvation Army centers located across St. Petersburg will have a need for volunteers. This a great way to give back to children and families in Pinellas County. There may be meals, gifts, presents and more. Thanksgiving turkeys and other Christmas is offered too. Of course, the Salvation Army will also operate other social services and soup kitchens. More on Pinellas County Salvation Army.




St. Petersburg area and Pinellas County Free Toys for Tots
This is a regional programs that gives free toys to kids under the age of 14. Pinellas County volunteers and fund raisers collect new, unwrapped games, dolls, gifts, and other presents. All of the gifts are given to boys and girls at Christmas. Get items such as gift cards, video games, educational supplies, books, action figures, and so much more. The link is here.

There are other charities that may participate in USMC Toys for Tots. Dial 211, or if not qualified, then find other gifts for Christmas for free.

People that Love Church and Mission
Address is 817 5th Avenue N., Saint Petersburg, Florida 33701. Call (727) 820-0775
They usually hold a buffet. There is free holiday fare for the hungry, including unemployed and homeless. The church strives to provide a meal during this time of year.

St. Petersburg Free Clinic
Location is  3836 28th St N, St. Petersburg, FL 33714. Main phone (727) 823-5780
The non-profit clinic also serves a holiday meal. Some, such as very young children, may be given a free, small toy as resources allow. The meal is served a week or so before the holiday.

The organization serves qualified children, elderly and families with food for Thanksgiving. This can be a turkey with all the toppings. There may also be free food and smaller toys or clothing items for Christmas.

Suncoast Haven of Rest, or Rescue Mission
Charity address is 1763 9th Ave N, St. Petersburg, FL 33713. Call (727) 545-8282
Mostly the homeless or those in true poverty get holiday help. There are free Thanksgiving, Easter, and Christmas meals. Some boxes of food with turkeys may be given, and kids may be provided (for free) small Christmas gifts, clothes, or toys.

Metropolitan Ministries and the service known as Positive Impact Ministries
Main address - 2750 34th Street S., Saint Petersburg, FL 33711. Dial ( (813) 209-1000
The non-profit, community action type organization will have holiday toys, gifts, meals, and even Thanksgiving baskets. The entire Tamp area is covered, including Pinellas County. An application and enrollment process is in place, as it is for other Pinellas agencies.

Catholic Charities - Pinellas County
1213 16th St N, St. Petersburg, FL 33705. Dial (727) 893-1313
Social services range from free hot meals to help for immigrants, shelter and other programs. There are also seasonal resources including free holiday food baskets, food, Christmas presents for infants or kids and holiday parties.





Toy Makers of Pinellas County
A regional charity. Based on donations, children from low income families, single parents, immigrants and others are given Christmas presents. Clothes, shoes, games, electronics, and much more may be offered.

Sylvan Abbey United Methodist Church
Address is  2817 Sunset Point Rd, Clearwater, FL 33759. Phone - (727) 796-3057

This faith based group partners closely with Metropolitan Ministries indicated above.

The main center is at 600 1st Ave N #201, St. Petersburg, FL 33701. Call 727.895.9622.

Hundreds of kids and low income families are giving assistance from Christmas and the Neighbor to Neighbor program. There may be free Christmas trees with ornaments, toys, gifts, stockings, candy, stocking stuffers and more passed out.

Neighborly Care Network Volunteer Program
Location of center is 13945 Evergreen Avenue, Clearwater, Florida 33762. Telephone number - (727) 573-9444
Some of the holiday resources include Meals on Wheels for food, Shoppe Around the Corner, elderly visits, and more.

Helping Hands
1850 McMullen Booth Rd, Clearwater, FL 33759. Call (727) 724-1290
The free food pantry will have free Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas groceries or food baskets. There may be small toys, gifts for kids and other items. They help the elderly, homeless, and struggling / unemployed in Pinellas County with holiday needs.

By Jon McNamara

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