“Everyone is someone else’s child,” Christina says with tears in her eyes, “having a child makes me look at the world differently.” She teaches her 3-year-old son that not everyone got to eat today; or during a heavy rainstorm she will tell him “aren’t we lucky to have a safe, dry home?”
As her perception shifted and she looked at each person as someone’s child, she knew she wanted to see change. Living near downtown St. Petersburg, she sees those struggling with homelessness every day. Christina could no longer turn her back to those people, but instead wanted to help the community in a meaningful way.
Christina first became involved with the Free Clinic as a volunteer in the Women’s Residence, before the current, new facility was built. She began volunteering in the women’s mentorship program that helps build relationships between women in the community and women living in the residence. Wanting to do even more, Christina started volunteering in the We Help Services’ food pantry. One afternoon a week, she packs food and distributes it to individuals and families who come to the pantry for help.
“It feels good that you’re providing a direct need,” yet Christina knows there are many needs not being met. “If enough people get involved, St. Petersburg can fix this for our community. When we all help each other, it’s a benefit to all.”
Christina continues to volunteer in both programs. These opportunities have opened her eyes to the needs in the community and seeing the homeless has changed her priorities. As an active volunteer and a donor to the Free Clinic, Christina strongly believes in giving of your resources to help your neighbors in need, and encourages community members to find a specific issue you are passionate about. You can make a difference. Together, we can change the community for better.
We are grateful for those, like Christina, who have a passionate heart for this community. Your actions are changing lives and bringing hope to your neighbors in need – thank you.