“So far this year we’ve filled over 115,000 little tummies."By Andrea Alvarez

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – The holidays are a time for giving and while many of us have already begun checking off our shopping lists, local nonprofit organizers are asking for a last minute hand.

“We need volunteers. And we encourage as many new faces as possible to come help us out,” said Gina Wilkins, Founder and CEO of The Kind Mouse nonprofit in St. Pete. Wilkins mainly focuses on feeding small tummies across the region.

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“Kind Mouse has been helping out more children and referring families out. But because of the holidays, the other agencies are really getting a lot a lot of pressure on them,” said Wilkins.

And the need for more meals during COVID-19 was just added pressure. She and her team have been asked to offer even more help in other places.

“The Kind Mouse has been asked to feed an additional 450 families this holiday season,” said Wilkins.

But the nonprofit has suffered a major loss of funds from the traditional events The Kind Mouse was not able to have because of the pandemic. “We’ve estimated that we lost about $165,000 in events this year which is a lot a lot of tummies that could have been fed,” said Wilkins.

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So they had to think outside the box to make up for it. “Our outreach children came up with the idea of doing a campaign. They have requested an additional $50,000-worth of funding this year, by the end of the year,” said Wilkins.

But now all agencies are working to band together. “So we committed to these 450 families for the holidays,” said Wilkins. “We’ll take care of the families for just the holidays, but we will take on their children for the rest of this year and next year.”

And they need your help to pitch in with supplies, volunteering, and donations. “We cannot find… we need, believe it or not 450 canned hams. We cannot find them,” said Wilkins. “The best way to help us right now is to go to our website and donate. Cash right now is very, very helpful.”

Wilkins says they’ll be closer to this year’s goal of feeding more tummies across Tampa Bay. “So far this year we’ve filled over 115,000 little tummies. By the end of the year, we’ll be close to 130,000 little tummies that we’ll be filling and these kids are hungry. We want to help them out as much as possible,” said Wilkins.

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If you are able to help, please The Kind Mouse.