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West Orange Community Takes Care of Its Own

The COVID-19 pandemic has created an even greater need this year for individuals and families for the basics, especially nutritious food. With Thanksgiving fast approaching, in which many of us will be having small, physically distanced family dinners, those in need deserve the same. An easy way to help provide food this year is by making a financial contribution to the West Orange Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the West Orange Chamber.

For decades, even before the formation of our foundation in 2017, members of the chamber adopted families at Thanksgiving through Orange County’s Health and Human Services. The families were identified for assistance by the Maxey Center in Winter Garden, the Jennings Center in Pine Hills and Lila E. Mitchell Center in Orlando.

Each business was given a family name, size and a shopping list. Once all was purchased, our members delivered the baskets of food to the centers. As the need grew, industrious chamber volunteers collected donations and shopped in bulk for the best pricing and packaged the food for various family sizes and delivered them to the centers.

This operation continued to grow, as did the size of donations. This is where the foundation came in to help by allowing online charitable donations. This year, due to limited center hours and operations, donations are still being collected; however, the food purchase process has had to change. The foundation will purchase gift cards from Publix and Walmart, both chamber trustees, and deliver them to the centers so that each family will be able to purchase what they need.

This is how you can help. To ensure that we assist during this year of greatest need. Visit WOChamber.com/foundation/annual_thanksgiving_basket_drive and make a donation. We will take care of the rest, and you can rest assured that your dollars helped families in need.

Our foundation, through its Committee of 101(C101), also provides grants to charitable organizations. Over the years, charities have been granted over $300,000 with projects benefitting the homeless, arts, environment, healthcare for the uninsured and other issues impacting our community. This year, 21 charities applied for grants and the recipients will be announced later this month. To learn more about C101, the organizations that received grants in the past and how to support this endeavor or be considered for a future grant, visit WOChamber.com/foundation/west_orange_committee_of_one_hundred_and_one
There is so much need this year. By working together, we will make a difference in many lives. Happy Thanksgiving!

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Written by Stina D'Uva

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