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Local group provides food, furniture for veterans and homeless in Tampa

WTSP-TV Tampa-St. Petersburg logo WTSP-TV Tampa-St. Petersburg 8/28/2020 Courtney Robinson
a woman in a blue shirt © Provided by WTSP-TV Tampa-St. Petersburg

You might not see them, but there are families struggling in Tampa. Lisa Chesser says just take a walk and you’ll find working families living on the streets.

Neighbors emailed Courtney Robinson to share what Chesser is doing to help the community through her non-profit, Hope on the Horizon, Inc.

“When all these people who were homeless at one point in time are now being placed they have a roof -- yay! --that’s a big step [but] they have no furniture because they’ve been homeless for a period of time,” said Chesser.

She spends evenings after her full-time job at Tampa International Airport picking up donations from neighbors and then dropping off furniture for families who have recently found housing.

Neonkita Frazier is one of those people the organization has helped. She recently found a permanent home and needed bedroom furniture, living room furniture and things for her kitchen. Chesser got them and delivered them.

“Hope On The Horizon is that if we as a community pull together and work with the hope that we can make tomorrow better that’s what we want to do. So, we’re kind of a grassroots, boots on the ground [organization] and the phone doesn’t stop ringing and we’re just trying to make sure the needs are met,” said Chesser.

Chesser also helps those in need with utility bills, and each Thursday she delivers meals to 27 families. Some have homes, while some live on the streets of South Tampa.

“At one point there were nine homeless camps in South Tampa.  A lot of people are like, ‘What? Nine?’ Yeah. They don’t sleep on the streets. They hide,” she said.

Chesser finds them and they find kindness without judgment.

“I wholeheartedly understand that there’s mental illness, there’s drug addiction, there’s alcohol addictions but somebody has to be able to give them the hope and be able to speak to them a kind word, no judging,” she said.

She worries the pandemic is only going to deepen the need for help.

“Of course it’s going to get worse. The camps are going to fill up. Businesses are closing, the economy is terrible and what’s the solution? We have to get out of the society of ‘me, me, me, me, me, me, me,’ and start saying, ‘WE’ because united we’re going to stand but if we all pull apart and sit in our own separate distance and we have that missing link nothing will get accomplished,” she said.

Lisa funds much of her efforts through her full-time job at Tampa International, but neighbors donate and on Nextdoor; you can tag her and connect her with free furniture and other supplies.

If you would like to connect with Lisa, click here.

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