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Each bag will be made with love by volunteers of the BAGS OF HOPE TEAM and then lovingly shared with the Tampa Bay community.  We will share these bags with individuals, churches, outreach programs and yes even the man or woman on the side of the road.  Our first priority is safety.  We do not encourage the sharing of any BAG OF HOPE in an unsafe place or situation.  Adults should monitor distribution of all BAGS OF HOPE.   

We can be reached at bagsofhopetampa@gmail.com.  Donations can be made through the office at Village Presbyterian Church. The office is open Monday - Thursday 9am - 3pm or on Sundays through the Community Food Pantry entrance from 12:00 noon - 2:00pm.   All email and website inquiries will be answered in a timely manner.

 

Want to host a Bag of Hope Toiletry Drive? 

BAGS OF  HOPE - TAMPA - TOILETRY DRIVE SUBMISSION FORM

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WHAT GOES IN A BAG OF HOPE

... LOTS OF LOVE!

 Shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, feminine products, deodorant, razors, washcloths, tissues, mouthwash, lotion, granola/protein bars, small waters and any other hygiene items you find appopropriate.

Shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, feminine products, deodorant, razors, washcloths, tissues, mouthwash, lotion, granola/protein bars, small waters and any other hygiene items you find appopropriate.

This is a very real, tangible and easy way to help someone in a situation of need. You know how it feels when you see someone at a stop light that needs help, or the guy sleeping on a bench when you walk down the streets of your city and you want to do something but are unsure of exactly what to do.  Handing them a BAG OF HOPE gives you a very real way to meet their immediate needs by providing them with some basic toiletries, water, food BUT there is more.  BAGS OF HOPE TAMPA provides a vital next step too ...  HOPE!  Included in each bag you will find numbers for outreach, safe places for a warm meal, crisis numbers that may save a life, and words of encouragement from our team.  This HOPE may make the difference in the life of someone in despair and it may be what they needed to make life changing decisions, HOPE. 

Interested in receiving some BAGS OF HOPE to have on hand.  Want to donate items so we can continue this vital mission?  Can you clean out your travel bag and your spouses?  Do you have funds to help support the cost of Gallon Sized Bags?  Do you have zip-loc bags to donate?  We would love any contribution to our making our mission a blessing to others here in Tampa.

We can be reached at bagsofhopetampa@gmail.com.  Donations can be made through the main office at Village Presbyterian Church. The office is open Monday - Thursday 9am - 3pm or on Sundays through the Community Food Pantry entrance from 12:00 noon - 2:00pm.


HOW DID THIS ALL GET STARTED? 

Bonded by friendship but separated by high schools throughout the county; Juniors Karina Wilson, Alyssa Kowalczyk and Genna Green come together through compassion. 

 Creators of BAGS OF HOPE:  Alyssa Kowalczyk, Karina Wilson and Genna Green.  

Creators of BAGS OF HOPE:  Alyssa Kowalczyk, Karina Wilson and Genna Green.  

It started by serving others at the Community Food Pantry and their common youth group, AGAPE, at Village Presbyterian Church, and through their love of Tampa an idea transpired; BAGS OF HOPE.  The girls have seen similar blessing bags, Karina has even shared them as a part of her religion class at TC, but the push is that these offer real HOPE and some steps/options toward solutions, new starts, not just a toothbrush, soap and a granola bar.

Karina and Alyssa became friends at 5 in kindergarten at a charter school in Lutz, Learning Gate Community School.  Genna joined in their special friendship as they all cheered together in middle school for a local recreational league, the Northside Dolphins and later competitively at XCEL in Odessa, FL. But as they started high school, these three found themselves at different schools; Karina at Tampa Catholic HS, Alyssa at Steinbrenner HS and Genna at Gaither HS.  New friends, new commitments & challenges yet their friendships still reeked of love, secrets of BFF’s, college dreams, academic achievements and successes, all the typical high school “stuff.”

 Alyssa, Karina and Genna

Alyssa, Karina and Genna

One way they spend time together is by going downtown for impromptu “photoshoots.”  Karina’s love of photography, anything downtown and then she passed on her love of the Lightning to her friends; taking them both on several occasions to see her ‘boys’ in action at Amalie is what they consider fun.

They have spent some time downtown walking on the streets of Tampa, the city they love, but can’t seem to shake the sadness when passing the homeless living there.  Although not always a comfortable situation, they too have avoided conversation or eye contact, but the compassion and concern they each have for their fellow neighbor in the community is real, this struck a chord.

They found themselves loving the highlife of downtown, Eddie & Sams Pizza, a great Lightning win, and even cookie dough at Dough Nation, but they still had heavy hearts about those watching them pass by ... alone, cold, dirty and possibly hungry.  What was their story?  Where did they go to high school?  Did they have dreams? Where is their BFF?  Was this a choice or a consequence? Are they scared?

Regardless how they got there, it may be a choice; they deserve the basic human needs of food.  For these girls, adding some lost dignity with a special note of love and numbers and addresses where they can find shelter, a warm meal, or even crisis options would help.  This birthed what they callBAGS OF HOPE.