Monday, December 5, 2011

Helping Homeless in Central Florida

On Sunday, Nov 27th, 60 Minutes aired a follow up to their segment on homeless families in Central Florida (Watch it here) that they originally aired in March. This new piece profiled a few families who no longer could afford temporary housing in motels and were now living out of their cars. The statistics they cited were shocking.

> ⅓ of families without shelter in America are in Florida

> 16,000,000 kids in America are living in poverty, the most since 1962

> Almost 25% of kids in America are considered homeless. One out of four...

I had no idea the problem was this bad, especially not in Orlando where homelessness is not obvious or apparent by any means. There are homeless downtown but you don’t see families or kids, and it doesn’t seem like an epidemic. What myself and most people didn’t understand is that homelessness has many faces. Most children and families who fall into this demographic are normal hard working families who are in a tough spot, you won’t find them on the corner asking you for change, yet. Most of the parents are hard working and employed in some way but can’t seem to make enough money or get enough hours to feed their families.

What We're Doing
After the show, I told my family about what was happening and we decided to do something. On December 21st, we will be donating our restaurant, Cattleman’s Steakhouse, and hosting a free holiday dinner for over 400 Orange County Public School students from 8 different Southwest Orlando schools. We chose to focus on Southwest Orlando because that is where we grew up. Between the three brothers, we went to six of the eight schools in our area. My brother Eddie will be cooking dinner with Chef Van and the fam at Cattleman’s while our friends, neighbors and volunteers from the community will be serving families, accepting donations, and providing entertainment.

For More Info Visit The Facebook Event Page
To Donate Visit Our Donation Website

We are working with the Orange County Public Schools McKinney Vento Program (about McKinney Vento)to identify students in need and invite them and their families to the dinner. We began reaching out to people on Wednesday and in just the first two days, we have received a tremendous amount of responses from people who want to help. Some great businesses have reached out to offer gift cards and free services but we are still in need of securing our food donations for the event (if someone knows the homies at Sysco or US Foods, tell em to get with it :D) as well as grocery gift cards for the families.

How To Help

If you can and want to help, the best way to do so is to donate funds so we can buy these families grocery gift cards. School administrators have told us food is the greatest need and our goal is to send each family off with at least $25 in grocery cards, which is very conservative. To donate, go to our site at , all proceeds will go to purchasing grocery cards to be given directly to the families on December 21st.

If you or someone you know is interested in putting together a similar event or simply looking for ways to help, feel free to hit me up. We are also looking for ways to grow this beyond one night, any and all ideas or suggestions are welcome. I can be reached at


  1. A lady I know has been homeless off and on in the DeLand area for two years now. As a foster parent I have offered to take her kids in, but she usually looses my number for a few months before turning up again.

    Recently she was taken in by the police in DeLand after the manager at Walmart noticed she had been living there with on of her kids and her husband for 4 days. DCF offered her housing, a job and a used car, then pulled it all because she has an arrest the Sheriff's office still hasn't removed, even though she did pre-trial.

    Rather than deal with that she slipped away again and is now somewhere in DeLand or Seville living in tents and her car if it isn't too hot.

    This is reality, and it is sad.

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