NewsPinellas County


Coronavirus forces St. Petersburg Free Clinic to make changes to continue helping the community

Posted at 1:17 AM, Mar 25, 2020

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Many of us are making changes to our lives because of the coronavirus. From our daily routines to long term decisions. That story is no different for so many non-profits in the Tampa Bay area.

We found the St. Petersburg Free Clinic is making some changes, too.

Not only is the organization seeing an increase of need, but it are also seeing a decrease in donations.

"As an example, on a day when we're seeing a lot of clients in our food pantry, which is what we call We Help, we may see up to 200 clients come through," says Jennifer Yeagley, CEO of the St. Petersburg Free Clinic. "Last Thursday, we saw 356. Monday, we saw almost 300. So, even in just the past several days we're seeing that need increasing."

Because of that, the Free Clinic's staff and volunteers are getting creative.

They moved their We Help food pantry curbside.

People in need can walk up, drive up or bicycle up to their location and get pre-bagged food items. All you need is your ID.

Food donations from some of their partners, like Wal-Mart and Publix, are also down. Without knowing when they are going to pick back up, the nonprofit is dipping into some reserve funds.

"We have had to start making plans to purchase food in bulk," explains Yeagley. "We can do that for pennies on the dollar because we are a food pantry and food bank but it's still an unexpected cost that we're willing to incur because we need to meet community need especially, as we know, that need is going to increase significantly."

Other businesses like Kozuba & Sons Distillery are stepping up to help the clinic.

The clinic is not asking for volunteers right now.

It is asking for donations from anyone who may be able help. For more information on how to donate, click here