Seven Incredible Tampa Bay-Based Philanthropic Organizations That Deserve Your Help

070117-N-2456S-153<br />  Norfolk, Va. (Jan. 17, 2007) - Sailors from amphibious transport dock USS Nashville (LPD 13) raise a roof truss onto the top of the house they are building for Habitat for Humanity in Norfolk, Va. The work being done by Nashville Sailors is part of a ship-wide goal to dedicate 6,000 hours of community service time to the local area this year. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman John Suits (RELEASED)

Floridians love to give, volunteer and donate, but with the surplus of crowdfunding opportunities and non-profit organizations, sometimes it’s a bit difficult to figure out where one ought to donate their time. More than simply ignoring the internal strain that pulls at your heart, insisting that you give to local charities or volunteer at your neighboring soup kitchen, you should toss your support behind some incredible endeavors and organizations, including Habitat for Humanity.

Habitat for Humanity: Habitat for Humanity is an organization founded in 1976 by Linda and Millard Fuller. There are volunteers needed to construct homes across the Tampa Bay area.

Meals on Wheels: The delivery program that provides meals to shut-in individuals and others who are are unable purchase or prepare their own meals.

Metropolitan Ministries: The local, independent, faith-based nonprofit has long committed itself to providing hope and assistance to those in need located in the Tampa Bay region. By assembling and setting up furniture, and gathering school supplies, volunteers are generally able to help countless homeless adults, women, and children.

Moffitt Cancer Center: H. Lee Moffitt, who was a Florida state representative in 1978, roused conversation about developing a cancer center in Tampa. Though he himself had survived cancer, he’d lost more than more than one friend to the disease. The groundbreaking ceremony for his $70 million, the 162-bed facility took place during the early months of 1983. Today, volunteers can help to renovate the center. Also, they can help to bring in food, clothes, and school supplies, and they can assemble furniture.

United Way of Tampa Bay: A premier platform for community service and volunteering, UW connects helpful individuals with projects that are hands-on, fun, and flexible. Participants are offered a choice of sites to offer their services to.

Tampa Bay Harvest: TBH operates through sponsors and donors who enable city-wide growth. The volunteers who commit themselves to all-volunteer organization transport donated food to individuals who can’t otherwise afford it.

Sunken Gardens: Sunken Gardens is St. Petersburg’s oldest living museums and volunteers attending to this facility are tasked with feeding the birds, tending to the garden, and filing paperwork.
If you’re interested in learning about some other places to volunteer, click here to learn more.

6 Quick and Easy Ways To Help Your Community

10959166933_c0fc035521_bIn today’s society, people are constantly busy. It is quite possible that you want to help your community out, but you just don’t have the time. But community service doesn’t have to be time-consuming. Sure, it would be great to volunteer for a few hours at the local soup kitchen or animal shelter, but if you don’t have the time, there are many fast and easy options. Here are a few ways that you can help your community by just taking a few minutes out of your schedule:

1)Pick up litter

Littering is all too common nowadays. Why not be a part of the solution? Take a walk through your neighborhood and bring a garbage bag along the way, picking up any litter you see. This is a great way to make your community a cleaner place while also getting some exercise.

2) Bring your leftover food to an elderly neighbor

Elderly neighbors, especially widowed ones, could use a little help. Why not bring your neighbor a meal one night? If you have a family of four, prepare enough food for five people and give some food to your neighbor. This will help you get to know your neighbors and build a positive community. According to the police, getting to know your neighbor is a great way to combat neighborhood crime. And who knows, maybe next time you can even invite your neighbor over for dinner.

3) Vote in local elections

Many people only vote once every four years in the presidential elections. But elections happen every year and there’s no reason to skip over the local ones. Do some research on the candidates in the local and state elections and vote every year. Having a say in your local officials will make you feel more connected to your community.

4) Write a letter to local elected officials

Local officials will work harder to make your community a better place if they know that you appreciate them. Why not pen them a letter thanking them for making beneficial decisions for your community. Your encouraging words will make an official’s day and push them to work harder for your community.

5) Attend local events and festivals

Many local events are fundraisers that have free admission. You may be wondering how you are helping out if it is free, but typically these fundraisers help non-profit organizations which make their money through sponsorships. This typically means that sponsors look at attendance numbers to decide how much to give. If you attend with your family, you will be increasing the number of people there, therefore increasing the amount that is donated give next year.

6) Shop at locally owned businesses

If you shop locally, you will encourage other people to do so as well. This promotes growth and increases the likelihood of new businesses opening in the area. And bonus: if you shop at locally owned businesses, you will probably save time and money.

Helping out your community doesn’t have to mean taking a large part out of your day to give back. There are so many little things that you and your family can do to help make your community a better place to live.

Tampa Bay Lightning Owner Continues to Give Back

Stephen OvertonJeff Vinik, owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning NHL hockey team, has made it public that he and his wife will continue to give over the course of five seasons for the community heroes program. If you’re unfamiliar with the program, it began during the 2011-12 hockey season between the Vinik Family Foundation and the Lightning Foundation. The program is designed to highlight one hero from the Tampa Bay area during every home game and provides a $50,000 donation to the person’s favorite nonprofit. Since it started, there has been over $11 million donated to hundreds of organizations. With a five-year extension and $10 million dollars pledged by Jeff and Penny Vinik, more people will continue to be recognized, and more importantly, nonprofits will receive funds and can continue to make an impact. Over the next five seasons, the program will honor a new addition to the hero list, young individuals from local high schools or colleges who are proponents of social change and helping others. By recognizing extraordinary individuals, while bringing a community together, is a recipe for success and surely a reason for why the Vinik Family Foundation and Lightning Foundation are continuing their efforts. A $50,000 dollar donation is a considerable amount of money too, and for some nonprofits, it can be an unexpected boost that truly makes a difference and can help them for months or years to come.