A seed to #FeedOsceola has been planted.
A three-pronged approach to benefit Osceola County during the COVID-19 pandemic, and born from a local partnership, is designed to help those residents financially hard hit by the coronavirus with food and gift cards. It’s also geared to lift businesses up who are suffering economically and to put out a call to action to other community members to mimic the helping effort.
The #FeedOsceola initiative works through a GoFundMe site (https://www.gofundme.com/f/brqesb-a-cause-i-care-about-needs-help), where money is being raised to help the less fortunate.
It started with Christopher May, a chef, who works for the Osceola County School District in nutrition services. He said the pandemic had just started hitting Osceola, when he wondered how he could help.
Courtney Daniels, owner of Kent Custom Homes in St. Cloud, was thinking the exact same thing.
May and Daniels have collaborated professionally a few times in the past and he has catered for her family and Kent Custom Homes.
“We just put our heads together and we came up with this idea that we would try to raise some money through a charitable organization and to buy fresh produce from local farmers,” said May. “There is a really rich agricultural history here in Osceola County and we want to capitalize on that.”
Here’s how it works: The money will be used to buy the fresh produce and gift cards from local businesses and retailers in Osceola, which will then be given to the Osceola Council on Aging. The council will then distribute the goods to those in need.
“They (council) have a long history of helping the community and most vulnerable residents in Osceola County,” May said.
Plus, the council itself has been bombarded with pleas for help.
“They are getting an unprecedented amount of calls on a daily basis and they are running low on food,” said Daniels. “The need is great.”
The goal of #FeedOsceola is to raise $10,000, May said, because Kent Custom Homes will match all monetary donations up to $10,000.
“We have the potential to raise $20,000, which will be used directly here in Osceola County to benefit Osceola County residents,” May said.
Purchasing the gift cards will help support the local restaurants and retailers that are struggling right now.
“There is a lot of support coming from the federal government, but what we know is that they (businesses) need the support now,” May said.
Thirdly, #FeedOsceola is a community call to action. May’s hope is that other local residents or business owners will work with their religious, civic or community organizations and start similar efforts to help.
It’s not exactly known when the food and gift cards will start to be distributed, but the effort is well on its way. Currently, the GoFundMe site is almost at $5,000.
“Even in this difficult time, people have given toward this campaign and it really warms my heart to know there are people out there in our community who really care about other people,” May said.
Those who want to donate can go to the GoFundMe site listed above.