Daystar has the most compassionate volunteers working with its clients. They interview each client to find out what basic necessities are needed most for that day. They offer encouragement and respect. The volunteers also manage the pantry, food donations, finances, event management, and anything else that needs to be done.
The previous poster on this site expressed frustration with a Daystar in another part of Florida that is not affiliated with the St. Pete Daystar.
Review from Guidestar
A scam and awful charity, at least the one in Lecanto FL. I am a disabled male who fell on very hard times and requested electric assistance and was denied for not being able to produce an Id for my just turned 18 year old son which they make no mention of on their requirments...just your photo id, income statement an electric cutoif notice. Not only did they not help, it was my last chance and i wasted $6 worth of gas just to be tild no.
Daystar is a great organization. The charity helps struggling families in their darkest hours. Many good people come across hard times and Daystar has been the glue that has keeped many families off the streets. Without Daystar many good families would not still be together.
Review from Guidestar
There are many charitable organizations that provide many meaningful and needed services and Daystar is one of the very best. It is an organization that provides for the basic necessities for those in need and does this with compassion and humanity. Daystar is interested in one thing, serving those in need, and at this, it does a wonderful job. Daystar provides food for the hungry, clothing for those in need and even mail services for those who have no stable addresses. The number of employed staff is very low while the number of volunteers and volunteer hours are high. This allows the organization to spend the vast majority of its funds on services to those in need. Daystar is a model organization.
Over the years I have referred numerous clients to Daystar for assistance with utilities, food, clothing, Travelers Aid, prescriptions and other essential needs. They treat everyone I refer with dignity and respect and usually find a way to assist them with their needs. Jane and her volunteers are wonderful to work with and I cannot say enough about their compassion and willingness to serve the most needy in our community. They are a wonderful organization.
Volunteer for 13 years. Developed computer system used by Daystar. Presently yhe IT person. In the past have interviewed, ran errands, did minor maintenance. Daystar sees an average of 85 clients per day. Clients are treated with respect and helped with necessities if at all possible.
I have been associated with Daystar Life Center almost ten years. This agency has continued to grow and challenge the citizens of Pinellas County Florida in every imaginable way possible. If something needs to be done that will help the disenfranchised, especially if no one else will do it, Daystar Life Center will find a way to get it done. To quote the Director, Jane Walker "Many hands and hearts participate in providing the myriad essential services our neighbors in need receive from us. No gift of time or money-in kind donations or prayer is too small to make a difference in our efforts to take care of those in our community unable to care foe themselves." In the years that I have served with Daystar Life Center it has been a privilege to be actively engaged in data input, client registration, pantry work, client interviewing and the responsibilities of being a member of the board of directors. I am currently a volunteer and reamin a volunteer because I firmly believe in assisting the needy and that they are helped best in two ways. One way is with a hands on approach by way of direct service and the second way is working with others for systemic change and improvements in our communities. These are goals that can be achieved by me in my association with Daystar Life Center.
I have known Daystar Life Center since the early 90's when I managed the CDBG funds that helped expand its facility in downtown St. Petersburg. More recently, as a volunteer for the Pinellas County Coalition for the Homeless I have been obtaining and managing state funds allocated to Daystar for their homeless programs. I know of no other agency that has done more for the homeless with fewer resources than any other agency around. Jane Walker is a Saint.
I volunteered as a grantwriter for Daystar Life Center more than a year ago (until I went to work fulltime). I was amazed and impressed by the dedication of the volunteers there. I still see them occasionally at other events. To a person, they are kind, caring and faith driven to make a difference in the lives of the poorest of the poor. Daystar does a great job of thanking its volunteers, of caring for them as people. Otherwise, they would not keep coming back. Both volunteers and staff are extremely frugal, using both sides of paper, turning out lights, etc. to stretch every penny as far as it will go. Clients are generally very respectful and appreciative of volunteer and staff efforts. Tucked away, almost under the interstate, few are likely aware of Daystar's existence. Any way of shining a light on its efforts to provide food, ids, bicycle locks, referrals to medical care, a mail center, etc. for St. Petersburg's forgotten and unwanted would be well-deserved.
It's amazing to me that an organization like this can operate with only two paid staff members, and yet serve 20,000 people-in-need during the course of a year. Folks who come to Daystar for assistance are given individual, personal attention - one on one with an interviewer - who listen to their stories and provides a huge variety of services: food, clothing, help in securing birth certificates, i.d. cards, prescriptions, transportation to the doctors and to new jobs, diapers, personal hygiene items and on and on. This role is filled by about 200 volunteers who, in addition to interviewing, also do data entry, stack shelves with food, clothing and any other chore that needs to be done. As an interviewer, I have been deeply touched sometimes when hearing the difficulties that some of our clients are facing. One young man came to us from a treatment center because he needed an i.d. In talking with him he also confided in me that he was a 'cutter' and estranged from his family. Another man was taking care of his brother's six children while the brother was in prison. You cannot do this job without having your heart touched. Daystar provides so much to so many and the blessings flow each way. The community of St. Petersburg is truly blessed to have Daystar available to its citizens.
rosemarie and I have beed volunteering here every winter for 21 years doing anything asked such as computer input,interviewing,assist in clothing rooms,bag food bags,and encouraging our friends to assist in person and monitarily.
I am so impressed with a nonprofit that sticks so closely to it's mission and does it with 2 paid staff and the rest volunteers. About 95 cents of every dollar goes to services. I am excited to be a part of this great organization.
Daystar is a wonderful place staffed mostly with dedicated volunteers, resulting in 95% of the contributions given going to help those in need. This was very important to me when I was looking for a way to "give back to the community" after retiring. It is a very rewarding experience when you can truly help others. Jane Walker the director and Linda, are extremely hard working and do an amazing job!
For 14 years I have been a donor and volunteer at this amazing organization that impacts the lives of more than 20,000 people a year by providing a myriad group of essential services for those in emergency need. The services include food distribution,clothing,rent aid andutility bill help,transportation assistance and mail service for more than 900 pedple. Daystar applies $.95 of every dollar recieved to client services according to last CPA audit.
I have known Jane Walker for years and she has a mindset of frugalilty; the client first and foremost. It is an efficient organization with just two staffers and hundreds of volunteers and supporters. The volunteers have guidelines but not rigid. Each volunteer receives training and then is urged to use their own judgement and common sense to arrive at a determination of what Daystar can offer. I happen to know also that there are more referrals from 211 than to any other organization.
Filled with gratitude, I have always wanted to "give back" to others. When I retired and found Daystar, I was impressed first with the very high percentage (95%) of contributions going back to the community. In selecting a non-profit to work with, it was a high priority to me, that I wasn't supporting a costly bureaucratic network at the expense of services to the needy. As an interviewer at Daystar, I meet people in all kinds of emergency situations and I am thrilled to be the face of Daystar, able to "make a difference" and see the impact right there in front of my eyes. I see the thanks in the face of the 80 yr old gentleman who won't receive his SS for another week and needs food to make it through a few more days and I refer him to the Sunshine Center or other places providing key services to Seniors that he never knew about. I see faces light up receiving a new dress or clean socks or shoes with soles intact. After helping with their electric bill to keep it on through the holiday, I see their relief and get a hug from the grandmother or aunt raising 3 children from their extended family, whose parents are in jail or out of the picture. We help the unemployed and ex-offenders get identification needed to get a job; we help children to get birth certificates for school or Medicaid; we help the displaced to get home to family willing to help them get back on their feet. And more, much more. Among the volunteers, there is a great hopeful spirit and camaraderie, which is imparted to our clients, who are treated with kindness and respect. With only 1 % of the budget spent on fund-raising, we need all the "free" publicity we can get....so thank you for this opportunity to make potential donors and volunteers aware of this wonderful organization. I'd give Daystar 10 STARS if I could!