CLEARWATER, Fla. — As Thanksgiving nears, the thankfulness coming from the Pinellas Hope Homeless Shelter is easily felt. 

  • Pinellas Hope Homeless Shelter thanking its volunteers Monday
  • In Bay area, 6,000 people are homeless. About 700 are veterans, according to Pinellas Hope
  • Pinellas Hope

“This is where we wound up and it was the best thing that could have happened to us really, this place is a God sent," said Colleen Wetherhold, formerly homeless. 

She and her boyfriend, Mitchell Guilliame, came to Pinellas Hope in 2016 after falling on hard times. Colleen had just gotten a hip replacement and Guilliame was diagnosed with skin cancer. 

"We lost just everything we owned just trying to keep up with medical and we couldn’t handle everything, and his family is mostly all deceased, and my family is up North, so we were kind of left,” said Wetherhold. 

“We ended up with the kindness of these people here, they took us in, and they have been very wonderful. It’s been a blessing for us, this place,” said Guilliame. 

Along with housing, Pinellas Hope also provided meals through their network of hundreds of community volunteers. That is why on Monday, Pinellas Hope has a Hunger Heroes Luncheon to thank all the volunteers for their hard work throughout the year.

This week is National Hunger and Homeless Awareness week. In the Tampa Bay area, nearly 6,000 people are homeless. About 700 of those are veterans, according to Pinellas Hope. 

“The number of people facing homelessness continues to rise in our area, and the resources are not enough without having a shelter like ours and not having that community help," said Danielle Husband, Homeless & Veteran Services Director, Catholic Charities. 

A special guest coming to the luncheon is Bishop Gregory Parkes. The event begins at 11:00 a.m., with the lunch starting at noon. 

"The support from everybody it really has changed my way of thinking and doing in life. And it’s given me a will to live,” said Martin Dorough, homeless. 

There are many ways to help Pinellas Hope Homeless Shelter. To learn more, visit their website: