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Charity sees 100% spike in need for jobs, food, shelter

Pinellas County

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — RCS Pinellas charities report a staggering increase in people in need of food, shelter, and a job this year.

“We’ve seen a 100 percent increase,” said Kirk Ray Smith, the president and CEO of RCS Pinellas, which provides a number of services including food banks, shelter, and support for domestic violence survivors and the homeless. “People may come to us because of food insecurity only for us to realize there’s a workforce development, employment issue.”

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RCS Express Centers, located throughout Pinellas County, work with more than 250 partners, including municipalities, offering workforce development, resume building, education programs, and job placement. The Express Centers help those in need receive services and support right away, without extensive paperwork and red tape.

“When you’re in the middle of a crisis I don’t think you have a whole lot of time for minutia,” explained Smith. “You want to put the fire out so you can address those direct and ancillary problems.”

RCS services help the unemployed and underemployed, who are struggling to get by.

“We’ve had people who have come to us who are homeless and have a job, but they’re not making a minimum wage. We try to put them in a position to better themselves.”

The first place to start is the RCS Pinellas website, which provides the addresses and phone numbers for all Express Center locations. While walk-in services are welcomed, COVID-19 precautions are taken by the facilities.

For more information, visit rcspinellas.org.

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