Giving Back and Feeding the Hungry:
One Woman’s Mission to Raise Awareness in Our Community
When Beth Vivio thinks about people in our community going to bed hungry each night it makes her sad. “We see food everywhere we look: restaurants, specialty food stores, advertisements and TV food shows.” Yet as many as 17% of residents in the Tampa Bay area go to sleep with empty stomachs.
Beth and her husband are originally from Ohio, but moved here in 2011 from Texas with their two sons. Beth works as a full-time volunteer and got involved at the boys’ new school, Shorecrest Preparatory, right away. Beth is on the board of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay, the All Children’s Hospital Foundation board, as well as the Shorecrest board of trustees. She is also a co-chair of the VIP auction benefitting All Children’s Hospital.
The Vivios became supporters of The St. Petersburg Free Clinic as soon as they arrived here in June of 2011. Beth learned of the clinic through her husband’s company, Valpak, which has been a longtime supporter of the Free Clinic. After attending the Soup’s On luncheon several times, she decided to chair the event this year, which was held on October 2 at the St Petersburg Coliseum. Soup’s On is held in order to increase hunger awareness, and they do so with a meal consisting only of soup and bread. Desiring to help the Free Clinic in a more significant way, Beth decided to put her 10 years of professional fundraising to work on a volunteer level. Beth has an energy that contributed significantly to this year’s Soup’s On event. She has a dynamic, positive influence which causes excitement in those around her. Her goals for this year were to increase attendance at the event and to educate more people about what the clinic does for the community. She expected that by raising attendance and awareness more food would be donated for the food pantry and more money could be raised. She hoped that in the future there will be an increase in participation by local businesses by their sponsorship of the event and by hosting food drives to benefit the pantry. “The St Petersburg Free Clinic is helping those in our community that are most in need and really changing their lives for the better.” she says.
According to their web page, “St. Petersburg Free Clinic is a multiservice, independent, not-for-profit human services agency providing our community neighbors assistance with food, shelter and health care. We have been caring for the underserved facing temporary emergency needs throughout Pinellas County since 1970.” They have many services available including We Help (providing emergency food, financial assistance, and help with proper ID materials), the Food Bank (distributing food in partnership with over sixty other community agencies), the Community Kitchen (feeding anyone who is hungry six nights per week, with 39,000 evening meals served in the last year), the Health Center (providing basic health and wellness services by volunteer physicians and nurses), as well as residences for men, women and families.
If you would like to help the St. Petersburg Free Clinic, visit their website at http://www.stpetersburgfreeclinic.org. If you are interested in sponsorship opportunities for Soup’s On, contact Julie Bostick, director of annual giving, at 727-821-1200, ext. 154 or at Julie.Bostick@StPetersburgFreeClinic.org.