HOPEFUL organization, started by family in Tampa, prepares dinners at The Salvation Army for homeless

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Tampa, Fla. (Jan. 24, 2015) — Katina Hickmon and her daughters spent hours working in their kitchen preparing a dinner of chicken with yellow rice and an array of egg and ham sandwiches. The University of South Florida family was on a mission: they wanted to create meals to feed the homeless men, women and children she saw in her community each day.  Hickmon wasn’t prepared for the number of people who would eventually come to her home in Tampa that day.

She fed more than 49 people.

Hickmon decided she needed to cook more meals for the homeless, who she calls Hopefuls, in Tampa. She went from preparing nearly 49 meals in her home to cooking for more than 300 in The Salvation Army Tampa Command kitchen.

For Hickmon, feeding the homeless in Tampa was her chance to give back.  She understands what it is like not to have a home because that was once her life. Without family support and pregnant at a young age, she found herself homeless and in need of assistance.  Though her life is much better than it was as a youth, Hickmon’s feelings from the past never faded.

“I felt so alone,” said Hickmon, executive director of HOPEFUL. “I would see all those cars passing by wondering what is it about me. I don’t ever what a person to have to feel like that. That’s why giving our resources to places like The Salvation Army is important to me and my family.”

Hickmon quickly discovered the need was great in the Tampa area, so last October she decided to create the organization HOPEFUL, Helping Our People Elevate their Faith Unified in Love. HOPEFUL is the name she gives to the homeless men, women and families she helps. She wants them to know that their situation is not hopeless.  The organization not only gives home-cooked meals, but every month they also  collaborate  with The Salvation Army in Tampa/Hillsborough County to help supply needed resources and toiletries to those in need.

“The Salvation Army is grateful for the partnership with the HOPEFUL organization. We are always excited to be a part of any community effort helping those in need,” said Major James Hall, area commander of The Salvation Army in Tampa/ Hillsborough County.

For more information on HOPEFUL or to find the date to their next community fair at The Salvation Army in Tampa/Hillsborough County, go to www.givehopetoall.org.