By Libby Hopkins
According to the Hillsborough County Homeless Coalition Homeless Census, there are over 9,000 men, women and children who are homeless in the county. There are enough services in the county to only help 15 percent of the homeless living in the census area. This means that 8,000 homeless people cannot find shelter on any given night. Cynthia Pinckney of Brandon is hoping she can make a difference in the lives of the homeless.
She started Cynthia Pinckney Ministries in 2003. She would drive around the county in a big truck feeding and offering clothes to the homeless. She always dreamed of having a place where the homeless or needy could come and get food or shop for clothes free of charge. That dream came true a few months ago when she got the keys to her client service center in Seffner.
“So many people have been waiting with me for this day to come,” Pinckney said. The new center will have space for counseling, prayer, clothes shopping and food donation. Pinckney grew up in a home that was always giving. Her parents were always looking for people in need to help. The client center’s grand opening will be held November 12-17. They will be open from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. each day during the grand opening week and then the hours will be Mondays and Fridays from 10 a.m.–3 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. The center will be closed on Wednesdays and most weekends unless the center is hosting a special weekend event.
Pinckney is looking for support from the community to help the client center be a success. “We are right in the middle of where there is a great need in the community,” Pinckney said. “The mission of the ministry has always been to help others, but I am reaching out to the community as well to help us.” She needs donations of food, baby formula, gently used clothing, toiletries and blankets. Her ministry is a 501(c) (3) and all donations/services are tax deductible.
For more information about Pinckney’s ministry, or if you would like to make a donation, you can visit her website at www.cynthiapinckneyministries.org or call 571-1556. The client service center is located at 12008 Martin Luther King Blvd. in Seffner, (between Pine St. and Highview) in the Pine Square Village Shopping Plaza.