Photos by Julie Lynch and Ed LynchSt. Raphael parishioners and supporters of Pinellas Hope around the diocese attended a fundraising dinner in the Parish Center sponsored by the Knights of Columbus on Saturday, October 8. Sheila Lopez, chief operating officer of Catholic Charities in the Diocese of St. Petersburg, was among the speakers. She told of the great work being done at Pinellas Hope to help homeless people find shelter and get back on their feet.
A history of the project was also presented. Pinellas Hope began in 2007 when Bishop Robert Lynch opened 10 acres in downtown St. Petersburg as a temporary shelter for the homeless. The program has grown now much larger. A new 20-acre site was opened last year and, with the help of local and state governments and donations from Catholics in the diocese, Pinellas Hope is providing a safe living environment for homeless people and support to become self sufficient.