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On Wednesday, November 25th, 2020, Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco Counties closed its offices and ReStore locations for its staff to give back. For the affiliate’s fifth “Give Back Day”, they partnered with Feeding Tampa Bay to provide Thanksgiving meals to 120 residents in the Dansville neighborhood of Largo. In additional to meals, Habitat staff volunteered their time on beautification projects in the neighborhood including landscaping and neighborhood cleanup. Materials for beautification projects were generously donated by Lowe’s.

Since 2016, Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco Counties has completed 53 new homes in the Greater Ridgecrest Area, with 26 in the Dansville community of unincorporated Largo. Mike Sutton, president & CEO of the affiliate explains, “In partnership with Pinellas County, Habitat remains committed to supporting this community by providing affordable homeownership opportunities to its residents. The neighborhood has been so welcoming to Habitat, and we are looking forward to supporting Dansville residents in the spirit of Thanksgiving with our partners at Feeding Tampa Bay”.

As we continue to navigate the pandemic, the importance of health and safety remain top priorities. Having a safe and affordable home and healthy food are critical elements that too many members of our community do not have access to. Thus, a partnership with Feeding Tampa Bay, one of the nation’s top hunger relief organizations, was a natural fit for Habitat’s fifth annual Give Back Day.

The need for hunger relief support from organizations like Feeding Tampa Bay is great in our community. 1 million+ residents are food insecure in Tampa Bay’s 10-county region. 1 in 6 are adults, and 1 in 4 are children. Feeding Tampa Bay is currently serving up to 2 million meals a week, with 68% of those served having never been in a food line before. The nonprofit is forecasting to serve 85 million meals this year alone.

While onsite in Dansville, Thomas Mantz, president & CEO of Feeding Tampa Bay and Mike Sutton, president & CEO of Habitat, announced a new partnership: Feeding Tampa Bay will donate goods to fill pantries for new Habitat homeowners. New homeowners often face that burden when moving into their own home, and now, through this partnership, Habitat homeowners will be welcomed into their new home with a full pantry.

About Dansville, Habitat & County Partnership

Dansville is nestled north of where Ulmerton Road curves into Walsingham Road within the Greater Ridgecrest Area in Largo. It is home to “Dan” Henry’s direct descendants, distant cousins and others without lineage who called him Uncle Dan anyway. Today, Dansville is 68 acres, dotted with about 70 one-story houses, a couple of businesses and swaths of vacant land that have not gone unnoticed by officials in one of Florida’s most densely populated counties.

Pinellas County has spent 25 years and millions of dollars building infrastructure, purchasing land and planning for new housing and much longed-for amenities. Since 2016, Habitat Pinellas and West Pasco has invested over $9,000,000. The development work in this area has been a catalyst for positive change in an otherwise neglected area. In February 2020, the affiliate celebrated its 600th home milestone in the heart of Ridgecrest.

“The Greater Ridgecrest Area continues to see transformational change and is a prime example of what can be accomplished with public-private partnerships. Pinellas County has made significant investments that have paved the way for organizations like Habitat for Humanity to do improve the lives of families by building over 50 homes in the area. We stand as a proud partner with Habitat and look forward to furthering the partnership, for the betterment of our citizens”, said Pinellas County Administrator Barry Burton.

“This is what community is all about. Habitat has been able to make the dream of homeownership for over 50 families in the Greater Ridgecrest Area through a partnership with Pinellas County. These are the types of investments and outcomes the Board of County Commission wants to see. Thank you Habitat!”, said Pinellas County Commissioner Karen Seel on the partnership.

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