At the Homeless Coalition of Palm Beach County’s resource center, the Senator Philip D. Lewis Center, more than 360 individuals experiencing homelessness arrived seeking refuge and safety in the first 30 days it was open. Often, these individuals—who may be children, teens, or adults—arrive with everything they own in a garbage bag. Today the coalition hopes to provide each such visitor with a warm welcome that includes a simple, sturdy cloth tote bag or backpack full of the small necessities that may comfort a child or teen, or restore the dignity and self-respect of an adult.
The center—a one-stop resource for housing assistance and provisions for individuals experiencing homelessness—is but a piece of a larger 10-year plan to end homelessness in Palm Beach County. The coalition actively partners with the County and Homeless Advisory Board in pinpointing cracks in current programs and identifying the practical steps necessary to prevent and sustainably end homelessness long term.
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Don Campbell loved to cook from an early age. When he was 10 years old, he fed his family and developed his culinary skills. As an adult, Don kept an open table and would feed up to 40 children from the neighborhood at a time. After an earthquake struck Haiti in 2010, he and his wife, Kristen, were inspired to help people recuperate and sustain their lives. Gathering all $9,000 from their life-savings account, the couple partnered with a food-aid organization and founded Feeding Children Everywhere. Just 90 days later, they shipped the first 250,000 meals into Haiti.
Today, Feeding Children Everywhere mobilizes volunteers—from small groups to groups of thousands—who assemble nutritious meals for undernourished children. Since its inception, the organization has delivered more than five million meals around the world and filled the pantries of US public schools through its Love Local program.
Part support group, part mobile workout studio—Mommy Can helps moms and moms-to-be live fit and healthy lifestyles while still tackling all the challenges of parenting. The club meets at different locations throughout the Orlando area, where instructors lead walking clubs, boot camps, and running boot camps. The instructors also educate mothers on their diet and other areas of healthy living. Above all, Mommy Can's instructors try to make sessions as convenient as possible. To that end, they let moms bring along their kids. Between sessions, Mommy Can's online forums serve as a meeting ground for parents to chat and offer each other support.
In the world of reality TV, it can be hard to separate fact from scripted sensationalism. But with Ghost Tracker Ghost Tours, visitors can see firsthand how the investigators on Ghost Tracker TV gauge the paranormal activity of reputed hauntings, and will even get to help document the spooky goings-on. Using the tools showcased on the screen—including EMF readers and K2 meters—tour-goers track the level of paranormal activity at 5–7 haunted sites, all while listening to their guide recount stories of the old court house or the hanging tree. During their 90 minutes of ghost hunting, guests maintain a leisurely pace while covering less than a mile of ground, allowing them ample time to peer around with cameras for spectral images that can’t be seen with the human eye. Some tours may be filmed for the show, so guests may be asked to sign a waver in order to enjoy their 15 minutes of fame.
When Amy, a little girl with leukemia, was unable to fulfill her wish to visit Orlando’s theme parks before she passed away, hotelier Henri Landwirth vowed that he’d never let a child in need’s wish go unfilled again. So he enlisted his colleagues in the hospitality and theme-park industries to help him make his vow a reality. His idea, Give Kids The World, expanded to a 70-acre resort village with more than 140 villa accommodations for wish children and their families, plus entertainment attractions and fun activities specially designed for children with special needs. The organization works with wish-granting organizations, such as Make-A-Wish Foundation, to fulfill any wishes to visit Orlando-area theme parks. In 2011, more than 7,000 wish children and their families from all 50 states and 25 countries visited the resort for a cost-free vacation.
The nationally accredited Kissimmee Main Street program hopes to revitalize Kissimmee's downtown and preserve its history for future generations, as well as make it a place where residents want to go for shopping and dining. The nonprofit does this by hosting a farmer's market on Tuesday evenings and by running a welcome station where visitors can grab information on local shops and restaurants and receive several warm hand shakes. Kissimmee Main Street also puts on special events. These include everything from a food- truck bazaar to a sculpture pub crawl, during which participants view works of art on the street and in galleries while stopping at various food and drink spots.