'Tis the season of giving, and the citizens and businesses of South Florida are not shy about sharing in the celebration with those less fortunate. From Palm Beach to Homestead, those in the position to help others are sharing the wealth. Short Oder challenges our readers to do their part by reaching out to one of several entities dedicated to making a difference this holiday season.
Perhaps the most obvious vehicle the everyday person can use to give back to their community is the tri-county Feeding South Florida food bank. FSF, which is based in Pembroke Pines, allows you to donate either money or your time through their website. You can do your part in several ways, even vowing to reduce the amount of food that goes to waste, currently at a shocking 20 percent.
FSF focuses on reducing the most shocking stat of all -- one in six South Floridians do not know where their next meal will come from. The recession caused the amount of food and money donated to decrease in 2008 and 2009, according to The Fund Raising School at Indiana University. For the past two years, however, the number has slowly increased. "Those increases are a positive indicator that suggest that people want to be generous even when times are tough," Tim Seiler, a professor of philanthropic studies told the Miami Herald.
Local restaurants are doing their part. BurgerFi, which calls itself the world's first all-natural burger franchise, donated $10,000 to Feeding South Florida, by way of 105.9's Paul and Young Ron show. Vic & Angelo's PGA location is donating a meal for every one sold from its Thanksgiving menu to the Palm Beach County Food Bank.
"Feeding South Florida provides food to pretty much anybody that's struggling to put food on the table, whether their seniors, families with multiple children, individuals - anybody that's needing to make a decision on whether to put food on the table, pay for the rent, pay for utilities or any kind of medical situation," Paco Velez, President and CEO of Feeding South Florida, told Newsmax.TV.
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While FSF does its part, people all over Miami are doing their best to fill empty stomachs this Thanksgiving. The mayor's office, with the help of business owners like USA Lending and Realty's Emil Farah, will be giving away 500 turkeys to needy families door-to-door. Farah, who has worked with the city on its "sister cities" campaign, helped persuade Costco to donate an incredible 250 turkeys. Publix did its part with a donation of about $500, Mary Brickell Village contributed another $500 and USA Lending and Realty chipped in $500 for a total of $1500 (enough for another nearly 125 turkeys).
"We have to do our part so that everyone has something to celebrate this holiday season," Farah said. "We are all brothers and sisters, we need to help each other."