Perry Huntington was seeking to give back to the community. When she and her husband, Greg, moved to Florida, Perry had a unique connection that caused her to seek out homeless shelters in St. Petersburg. Her research led her to St. Petersburg Free Clinic’s Beacon House – a safe, supportive, transitional shelter for single, homeless men housing over 110 residents annually.
In honor of her nephew who died while homeless and struggling with an untreated mental illness, Perry wanted to give back to the local homeless community in a meaningful way. “There are obvious needs in a community,” Perry said, “you can’t help but see them when you drive around.”
For the past two years, Perry and her family have donated assembled gift bags to the residents of Beacon House during the holidays. The project is a family affair, with family and friends gathering to fill the gift bags with essentials such as socks, underwear, t-shirts, toiletries and a comb plus a few extras like bus passes and a wallet or key chain. Perry also likes to include two stamped postcards for each of the men – a personal touch that lets the men reach out to someone important in their lives.
Perry’s background is in insurance, with a career that included nearly 23 years at AIG Insurance in New York, NY. She and her husband now reside primarily in Florida, and are getting to know the community and enjoying helping others.
For the 30 men residing in the residence, the true meaning of her gifts come in the kindness that accompanies them, as many of these men have arrived at Beacon House with few resources for their basics. Perry feels that this is the right fit for her, “the Free Clinic and its shelters respond to the most basic needs and are easily accessible to those in need, “ says Perry, “the staff is welcoming and supporters can see the impact they are having.”
Thank you to Perry and the many supporters like her, for showing compassion and kindness to help their neighbors in need. Each donation makes a difference in the life of the recipient and together, we are strengthening our community.
Are you inspired to give – of your time, talent, or treasure? Send your story to: Inspired@stpetersburgfreeclinic.org