Calling on the community: Embrace Families seeks food, gift donations for families in need

 Embrace Families is looking to provide 200 Thanksgiving dinners for needy families.

With as many as 5,200 children receiving child welfare services every month in Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties, Embrace Families is seeking assistance to deliver a memorable holiday season to the families it serves.

The nonprofit is asking the community to donate food and gift items.

As part of this initiative, Embrace Families aims to provide 200 Thanksgiving dinners. Most of these will go to participants in the Pathways to Home program, which for the last decade, has prioritized immediate shelter and long-term stability for families with children who are homeless or on the verge of homelessness. On Tuesday, Nov. 19, volunteers will help the nonprofit fill baskets with the traditional staples of a Thanksgiving feast.

Requested food donations include: Gravy, stuffing mix, cranberry sauce, powdered potatoes, green beans and/or corn, pumpkin pie and gift cards to local grocery stores to cover the costs of a turkey.

The nonprofit is also seeking gift donations during the holiday season. Its goal is to provide three gifts for each child in its care, including older youth transitioning into adulthood.

“Last year, we provided Thanksgiving meals to 150 families and made sure 3,000 children had presents to open for Christmas,” said Glen Casel, president and CEO of Embrace Families. “We’re humbled each year by the generosity of the community. Their support helps us ease any holiday-related stress for families already experiencing a difficult situation.”

Food donations for Thanksgiving meal baskets can be dropped off at the Embrace Families office, 2921 S. Orlando Drive, Suite 150, Sanford, until Nov. 19 during normal business hours. Gifts can be donated until Dec. 19. Supporters who wish to make a financial donation can do so online at, or shop directly from Embrace Families’ Amazon charity list at

About Embrace Families

As the region’s lead nonprofit agency overseeing foster care, adoption and other child welfare services in Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties, Embrace Families, formerly known as Community Based Care of Central Florida, serves more than 8,000 children and their families. For more information, visit, “like” Embrace Families” on Facebook at or follow it on Twitter at, and Instagram at