TAMPA, FL. – The homeless in our community deserve dignity and hope. One local woman works to give them both. She’s Beth Ross, the founder of Blanket Tampa Bay. It really is a mission.
It all began as a project to give out blankets to the homeless one Christmas Eve 6 years ago. Her parish received a surprise donation and the priest gave everyone in the parish $100 to go make a difference. Ross decided to get blankets to give away because she herself didn’t like being cold.
The joy on the faces of the recipients led Beth to realize more needed to be done. Now more than 6 years later, she’s given out well over 10,000 blankets. She gives away toiletries and works with a Christian group to provide meals every Monday night.
She’s found people, connected the dots on lives seeming to be lost and even did some digging realizing one homeless person had a wonderful past as a teacher but fell to hard times and she was due a sizable pension that she helped get connected. These amazing wins come because Ross took the time to care. This truly is a labor of love.
The goal now is to collect 3,000 blankets for a Christmas Eve distribution planned for Christmas eve with the folks at Trinity Cafe. If you are out and about, pick up a blanket or two. Blanket Tampa Bay collection boxes are set up throughout the community at businesses and people can simply drop new or gently used blankets in the box. Beth and her elves will take care of the rest.
Here are the locations for blanket drop offs by December 18th.
1. Limona Village Chapel Children’s Center & Limona United Methodist Church (2 boxes) 408 Limona Rd. Brandon, FL. 33510
2. Two Sisters DIY Workshop (1 box) 2020 Land O’ Lakes Blvd., Suite 4 Lutz, FL. 33549
3. First Baptist Church of Progress Village (2 boxes) 8722 Progress Blvd. Tampa, FL. 33619
4. ReMax Collective (1 box) 14310 N. Dale Mabry, Suite100 Tampa, FL. 33618
5. Small Cakes 17010 Palm Pointe Dr. New Tampa, FL. 33647
6. Tampa Bay Marina 205 S. Hoover Blvd. Tampa, FL. 33609
7. Costa Del Sol Apartments 7700 Ridge Rd. Seminole, FL. 33772
8. Watermark 12 5601 Mariner St. Tampa, FL. 33609
9. Watermark 9 5440 Mariner St. Tampa, FL. 33609
10.True Sanctuary of Praise 6528 US Highway 301 S, Ste 111 Riverview, FL 33578
11. Nails by Valerie 7102 Central Ave. North St. Petersburg, FL. 33707
12. Hudson High School 14410 Cobra Way Hudson, FL. 34669
13. Holy Cross Medical Center 4109 N. Armenia Ave. Tampa, FL 33607
14. Casual Eats N Treats 3565 Deltona Blvd. Spring Hill, FL 34606
15. Westtown Church 13521 Racetrack Rd. Tampa, FL 33627
16. Cushman & Wakefield 100 N. Tampa St. #2130 Tampa, FL 33602
Everyone has a story. Beth Ross has discovered Vets, former teachers, educators and more among the many homeless she’s helped. She treats them with kindness. So the next time you see that person on the corner, think of Beth offering them hope and sometimes the next steps to reunions & bridging the past.
She’s a bright light in our community.
Her next mission is to create an urban rest stop to provide showers and laundry facilities so people can clean up, wash up and feel better about tackling the day.
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