Tampa Bay Overheard: Help Wanted

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ABOVE: King of Peace Metropolitan Community Church. Photo courtesy of King of Peace’s Facebook page.

“Pillar of St. Petersburg” Robert (Bob) Pope is seeking a few good men and women to help Tampa Bay’s elderly LGBTQ community and allies.

Pope will host a brainstorming session about the issue at the King of Peace Metropolitan Community Church, located at 3150 5th Avenue N. in St. Petersburg. The meeting will be held in the church’s music suite July 25 at 7 p.m.

The 82-year-old lawyer’s charity work began over 50 years ago and continues today, most recently with the upcoming project. He served as a grand marshal in 2018’s St. Pete Pride parade and is widely known in the area as the founder of Metro Wellness. “It’s been probably two years that I’ve been gathering material on housing for the less fortunate,” Pope says, “particularly looking at our community.”

He says he’s forming an ad hoc housing team to investigate the needs of Tampa Bay’s elderly, looking specifically for architects, bankers, realtors, doctors, nurses, attorneys, grant writers, fundraisers and anyone who may find the project of interest.

“When I was a kid, which has been a long time ago,” Pope laughs, “people were not necessarily promoted if they were known to be gay. The ability to have a good retirement system was restricted, so we have a lot of people who are coming into retirement age who don’t have a great deal of money set aside. Not for their inability to do it, but for their inability to get good jobs. It’s for the elderly who are in need of community.”

“I just hope to instill ideas and passion in people so we can get some things done in our area,” Pope says of the meeting. “I hope anyone who has any interest will join us.” For more information about the meeting’s location, visit ChurchStPetersburg.org.

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