Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining®: Eat for a Cause
Through Visit Orlando, $1 from every meal served during Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining benefits one or more local nonprofits that help people in need. Which means that, in addition to offering outstanding meals at outstanding prices, Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining provides you with the opportunity to support outstanding causes.
In 2021, donated funds will focus on two organizations that are helping to combat homelessness in Central Florida: Pathlight HOME and IDignity. To ensure this donation has widespread impact throughout our community, Visit Orlando will for the first time extend the program’s charitable impact by awarding a $2,000 donation to one local nonprofit on the front lines of homelessness in each of Orange County’s six commission districts. Those charities are:
- The Central Florida Hope Center
- Latino Leadership
- Matthew’s Hope
- Professional Opportunities Program for Students
- Project Street Light
- Zebra Coalition
Read on to learn more about Pathlight HOME and IDignity!
Using the “Housing First” philosophy, Pathlight HOME provides affordable housing to low-income and homeless individuals in Central Florida. Since its founding 29 years ago, the organization has helped house more than 7,000 individuals. Currently, over 700 individuals are housed between two converted motels. Pathlight HOME also offers an employment resource center, as well as a free, eight-week basic culinary training program.
“We are honored to have been chosen as a beneficiary of this year’s Magical Dining program,” said Helaine Blum, CEO and co-founder of Pathlight HOME. “To date, over 7,000 homeless and low-income individuals have found a home and support services through our organization. And, thanks to this funding, even more will have the comfort of a roof over their head and the services they need to become empowered, self-sufficient members of our community.”
Did you know that an estimated 11% of adult U.S. citizens do not possess valid photo identification, which is often required to access education, employment, housing, banking, social services, proper healthcare and numerous additional opportunities? IDignity assists disadvantaged Central Floridians in obtaining an ID and has served over 24,000 individuals in Orange County since its inception in 2008. Within three months of obtaining an ID, 55% of IDignity’s clients improved their housing status, 38% secured employment, 33% obtained a primary care doctor, and 29% were approved for disability benefits.
With funds from Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining, IDignity will have increased capacity to serve more clients and develop long-term sustainability for its essential services. “All of us at IDignity are extremely excited, grateful and humbled to be selected as a beneficiary of Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining program this year,” said Michael Dippy, executive director of IDignity. “Access to identification not only empowers individuals to better their own lives, it also cultivates a society that is more inclusive, productive and secure for us all.”
Charities that have previously benefitted from Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining include:
- Feed the Need Florida (2020)
- National Alliance on Mental Illness Greater Orlando (2019)
- Lighthouse Central Florida (2019)
- Best Buddies of Central Florida (2018)
- Down Syndrome Association of Central Florida (2018)
- BASE Camp Children’s Foundation (2017)
- Freedom Ride Inc. (2017)
- Russell Home for Atypical Children (2016)
- ELEVATE Orlando (2015)
- Foundation for Foster Children (2014)
- Ronald McDonald House Charities (2013)
- Edgewood Children’s Ranch (2012)
- Boys & Girls Club of Central Florida (2011)
- Arts & Cultural Alliance of Central Florida (2010)
- Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children (2009)