Family Resources in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater
Picking up from one place and moving to another is always a hassle, especially when kids and pets are involved. Knowing whom to call or where to find information can help make the transition easier.
American Red Cross
The Red Cross helps members of the military, veterans and their families prepare for, cope with, and respond to, the challenges of military service.
The American Red Cross offers confidential services to all members of the military, veterans, and their families by connecting them with local, state and national resources through the network of chapters in communities across the United States and offices on military installations worldwide.
Local Red Cross offices develop and maintain relationships with key community partners. Military families rely on the Red Cross to help them identify their needs and connect them to the most appropriate Red Cross and community resources. This key Red Cross service includes responding to emergency needs for food, clothing, and shelter, referrals to counseling services (e.g., financial, legal, mental health), respite care for caregivers, and other resources that meet the unique needs of local military members, veterans and their families.
The American Red Cross Emergency Communications Center is available to help 24/7. Call 877-272-7337 or submit an online request at https://saf.redcross.org/css.
Armed Services YMCA
The ASYMCA is made up of 13 branches and about 20 affiliate locations at local Ys and on some DOD facilities across the U.S.
It makes military life easier by providing programs and services to the young men and women of all five armed services: Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard.
ASYMCA programs, services and events are designed to help the family come together, stay together and have the ability to adjust, bounce back and thrive wherever the services send them — with a particular focus on junior-enlisted men and women, the individuals on the front lines of defending our nation. Programs are offered at low cost and require no dues or membershipfees.
Signature programs include: Angels of the Battlefield Awards Gala, Art and Essay Contest, Military Family Month, Operation Hero, Operation Holiday Joy, Operation Kid Comfort, Operation Outdoors, Operation Ride Home, Parent and Me, Teddy’s Child Watch and YMCA/DOD Military Outreach Initiative.
Find ASYMCA locations by visiting www.asymca.org/locations.
Child Care Aware
Improving access to affordable, quality child care is one of Child Care Aware of America’s top goals. Search the site’s “State by State Resources for Families” to connect with national organizations and associations that provide information for families regarding child development, parenting, and child care concerns and questions.
The site has information on the different types of child care and how to choose the right child care for your family. Financial resources include a child care budgeting calculator and information on federal and state fee assistance. There’s also a special section for military and DOD families with links to military child care fee assistance. To speak with a specialist about military and DOD child care programs, call 800-424-2246, option 6.
Florida Department of Children and Families
9393 N. Florida Ave.
Tampa, FL 33612
The Florida Department of Children and Families works to protect the vulnerable, promoting strong and economically self-sufficient families as well as personal and family recovery and resiliency. The department’s programs include an abuse hotline; adult protective services; ACCESS Florida, a system that allows customers to connect with their public assistance information 24/7; and services for adoption, child care, foster care, domestic violence, homelessness, mental health and substance abuse.
Hillsborough County Children’s Services
3191 Clay Mangum Lane
Tampa, FL 33618
Hillsborough County’s Children’s Services Division provides education, care and support for youth and families. The division’s website provides information on family programs and services, including juvenile crime reduction programs, child nutrition, clinical services, education and medical care.
Military OneSource is your central hub and go-to-place for the military community. Get to know your benefits and prepare for the big stuff — deployments, reintegration, moves, parenthood, retirement and more. Browse by topic or search for that strangely specific question you want to know the answers to. No matter where military life takes you, with Military OneSource you’ll always be in the loop.
Operation Homefront assists military families during difficult financial times by providing food assistance, auto and home repair, vision care, travel and transportation, moving assistance, essential home items, and rent-free transitional housing for wounded veterans and their families.
Helping military families gain long-term stability is a specific concern for Operation Homefront. Homes on the Homefront awards mortgage-free homes, impacting veteran families for generations to come. The caregivers for wounded warriors also need help and that is why Hearts of Valor was formed.
Operation Homefront’s annual gala recognizes extraordinary military kids. The organization also hosts multiple Homefront Celebrations, Star-Spangled Baby Showers, Back-to-School Brigades and Holiday Meals for Military events each year to show appreciation to military spouses.
Visit Operation Homefront online for more information.
United Service Organization
Since 1941, the USO has kept our military men and women connected to their families, home and country no matter where they are or under what conditions they serve. Programs for military families include Couples Seminars: Stronger Families, Comfort Crew for Military Kids, Operation That’s My Dress, United Through Reading, Baby Showers: USO and What to Expect Present Special Delivery and The Sesame Street/USO Experience.
The USO also provides transition services to support Americans’ return to civilian life after completing their military service. For more information, go to www.uso.org/programs/uso-pathfinder.
Visit the USO’s website to find a location near you.
Moves are stressful for everyone — including the family pet. Pets can sense stress and a change in routine can be difficult for them. If possible, keep your pets in a quiet, secure area while movers pack up or unload your belongings. Movers will have your door open while they move boxes and furniture, and a pet may slip out the door undetected. Make sure you keep a collar with an ID tag on your pet at all times. Ensure the tag has your current phone number on it. It is also a good idea to microchip your pets. Remember to keep the microchip’s contact information up-to-date. If your pet escapes during any part of your move, you want the animal shelter that scans the chip to be able to contact you.
In Florida your pet faces many new outside dangers, among them the Bufo toad, one of the state’s largest amphibians, which can grow up to 9 inches long and weigh up to 2 pounds. When threatened they secrete a milky toxin that can kill cats and dogs if they ingest the poison. Talk to your vet about parasites, such as heartworms, that may be unfamiliar. Four species of venomous snakes — rattlesnakes, cottonmouths, coral snakes and copperheads — pose another danger, so keep your dog on a short leash in wooded areas, especially if it starts sniffing or pawing the ground. Alligators pose the biggest threat. They live wherever there is water, so avoid allowing your dog to walk around or swim in unknown waters.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Wild animal issues 888-404-3922
Alligator nuisance 866-392-4286
The FWC manages and ensures the long-term well-being of fish and wildlife, particularly since humans continue to encroach on wildlife habitats. The website offers tips about living with many of the 575 species across the state.
Hillsborough County Animal Services
440 N. Falkenburg Road
Tampa, FL 33619 813-744-5660
Hillsborough County Animal Services provides a variety of services, including low-cost spay and neuter vouchers; investigation of animal neglect and cruelty; enforcement of county and state animal ordinances and laws; removal of animal remains; and issuance of rabies registration tags. For more information on the county’s animal shelter and pet adoption, visit the Hillsborough County Animal Services’ website.
Pinellas County Animal Services
12450 Ulmerton Road
Largo, FL 33774 727-582-2600
Pinellas County Animal Services provides care for pets at its adoption facility. Other services include animal control, spay and neuter programs, and enforcement of animal ordinances and laws.
Veterinary services in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater are plentiful; see the Military Buyer’s Guide to connect with local providers. Or in Hillsborough County, a place to start looking is the Hillsborough County Veterinary Medical Society at www.hcvms.org. Another source for connecting with a veterinarian is the Florida Veterinary Medical Association website www.fvma.org.
Pets for Patriots
Pets for Patriots’ vision is to end animal homelessness in the United States while giving our military veterans and their families the greatest “thank you” of all: the extraordinary love of a companion pet. It makes this happen through its nationwide shelter and veterinary networks, military and veteran organizations, and a public that values the lives of both the vulnerable and heroic among us.
To learn more about adopting a pet, visit https://petsforpatriots.org/adopt-a-pet/how-it-works.