ALPHA House of Pinellas County asks for gifts of outings for new moms after pandemic lockdown

Looking for sponsored events during holiday season
Posted at 3:14 AM, Dec 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-17 08:25:38-05

ST PETERSBURG, Fla. — ALPHA House of Pinellas County in St. Petersburg just came out of their pandemic lockdown, and like many other nonprofits, they’re experiencing fewer monetary donations than ever before.

Its mission is to prevent the cycle of homelessness and child abuse by keeping pregnant women and their babies off the streets.

“I’m from here, St. Pete. And the reason how I got here, is lack of rent,” said ALPHA House resident Micah Ramsey.

Ramsey is 23 years old. Her first baby is due just after Christmas. If it weren’t for ALPHA House of Pinellas County, she and her baby would be in a very different situation.

“Probably like a homeless shelter I would say… or probably living on the streets maybe,” she expressed.

ALPHA House is the only transitional housing program in Florida for women and teens ages 14 to 41 who are pregnant or parenting.

Some residents are survivors of domestic violence, human trafficking, or just never had a solid support system.

“The foster care population are the minors and they are the young girls that have been abused, neglected, human trafficked, not taken care of by a parent,” explained Executive Director Jennifer Stracick. “And then the other population we have are the adults that come with us… A good amount of them were in foster care and they are just turned 18 and then there's nobody to help them.”

This holiday season, ALPHA House is home to 14 moms and nine babies, just shy of capacity.

“We have a lot of local organizations that really stepped up this year. So the girls are going to have a wonderful Christmas… but it doesn't help with us our operating expenses,” Stracick said. “Our biggest fundraiser wasn't in person for two years in a row now because of the pandemic.”

In-person fundraisers became nearly non-existent during the pandemic.

ABC Action News found that 75% of nonprofits hosted virtual fundraisers and many weren’t able to raise nearly as much, according to the Peer To Peer Professional Forum.

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For example:

  • March of Dimes 2020 virtual campaign raised $25 million compared to the $48.9 million the year before
  • National MS Society’s WALK MS raised about $25 million compared to $41.7 million in 2019

The good news is, charitable donations went up 6% in the first quarter of 2021, according to the Fundraising Effectiveness Project.

ALPHA House is hoping that means more people are willing to give holiday donations, whether monetary or in gifts of normalcy.

“We don't have a big fund for the girls to have, you know, time on their own for the staff to bring them places,” Stracick explained.

Their ask this year is for sponsored outings for the women, including:

  • Nail or hair salon visits
  • North Shore pool passes
  • Picnics in the park or at the beach
  • Aquarium or museum tickets

“Somewhere is in a group to experience you know what, what all of us can experience that that are not living in you know, a transitional housing or homeless shelter,” Stracick added.

It’s the experience at Alpha House that can change the future not just for these women, but also for their little ones.

“My plan is to have the baby, get a job, save money, and get a place,” Ramsey said.

If you’d like to donate or connect with ALPHA House, click here.