The donation was raised through Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining program which promoted eating and take-out at local restaurants this fall, with $1 from each meal designated for the charity. Due to the positive increase in local business for restaurants the program was generating, Visit Orlando also extended the program an extra month this year for the longest run in its 15-year history.
Since Feed the Need launched in late March, over 1.6 million meals have been served, and funds raised through Magical Dining will help feed thousands more. The effort is led by Orlando nonprofit 4Roots, plus public and private partners, to support Florida farmers, preserve and create jobs, and prepare and serve nutritious meals throughout Central Florida.
“On behalf of Visit Orlando, our 78 participating restaurants, and all the Orlando residents who took part, we’re thrilled to share this record-breaking donation, which is especially meaningful given the challenges of 2020,” said Brian Comes, Visit Orlando board chairman. “The need to support local restaurants was greater than ever, plus we adapted the program with new measures for safety and convenience, and the community responded at a level beyond even our highest expectations.”
“These funds are such a blessing and we’re going to be able to help so many other families,” said John Rivers, founder & CEO, 4Roots & 4 Rivers Restaurants. “We have served 1.6 million meals to date and a huge grant like this will allow us to continue to provide meals, support jobs and help people in our community. Our thanks go out to the entire community, Visit Orlando and to all the restaurants who participated.”
Since 2009, Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining has raised nearly $1.8 million for local charities. Past recipients include: NAMI Greater Orlando and Lighthouse Central Florida (2019); Best Buddies and the Down Syndrome Association of Central Florida (2018); BASE Camp Children’s Cancer Foundation and Freedom Ride (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); and the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children (2009).