In Wednesday’s column, I highlighted what I called “Milestones of Humanity” – amazing benchmarks reached by Central Florida’s nonprofit community.
It started with Give Kids the World – which hosted its 130,000 kid on Saturday.
The next day, the Christian Service Center of Orlando served its 4 millionth meal.
So I put out the call for other impressive benchmarks. And I received dozens of responses – far more than I could ever fit in the print edition of the paper.
So I have a more full list here — with links to each and every agency included with the organization’s name.
AND I WELCOME MORE NOTES FROM YOU GUYS AS WELL.
After this, if you know of a worthy nonprofit that recently reached an impressive milestone, feel free to share it here as well.
Now let’s get started…
300 million meals. Second Harvest Food Bank will have served this year, since its inception in 1983.
20 job fairs. That’s one for almost every year that Christian Help of Casselberry has been around, trying to match eager workers with open jobs.
120,000 mattress. All recycled by Mustard Seed of Central Florida. The best ones go to sparse homes. Others are broken down for parts, everything from carpet padding to mulch.
235 homes. Habitat for Humanity of Greater Orlando’s has been so successful, it’s next challenge is building an entire 59-home community.
800,000 lentil casseroles. (This is one of my favorites – just for uniqueness’s sake.) The Celebration Foundation in Osceola County has been trying to fight hunger issues for two years – and hopes to hit 1 million casseroles by year’s end.
325,000 students have seen shows at the Orlando Repertory Theatre for free and reduced prices. We’re talking everything from Dr. Seuss and Anne Frank to Charlotte’s Web and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer — shows for free and reduced prices.
400 dogs. It’s can take two years to train a service dog. But Canine Companions for Independence has trained 400 of them since opening its Orange County campus in 2000 — dogs that special-needs recipients get for free.
$100 million. That’s how much Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation has donated to nearly 800 organizations over the last 40 years — including many of those on this very list.
180,000 patients. Shepherd’s Hope has been seeing, treating and counseling the uninsured since 1997. Doctors, nurses and other health-care professionals who volunteer their time to families — some of whom are so desperate for health care, they line up at clinics hours before they open.
4,500 wishes. All granted by Make-A-Wish of Central and Northern Florida to kids with life-threatening illnesses. Maybe it’s a vacation. Maybe it’s a new puppy. Every kid has a dream. And these kids deserve to see theirs come true as much as any.
280,000 prescriptions. All written by Health Care for the Homeless, which also provides counseling sessions and doctor’s visits to struggling individuals and families.
12,000 kids. Some were the children of women who worked in citrus packing plants in 1939. Others are kids who work in low-wage hotel jobs today. All have attended Winter Park Day Nursery, which has provided child care services to working families for 75 years.
3,500 grants. Grant-processing may not sound sexy. But for Winter Park’s Foundation for Foster Children, it means providing foster kids with money to pay for things like piano lessons, field trips and graduation caps and gowns — things many kids take for granted.
17 million bars of soap. Clean the World sends the bars all over the globe to try to fight and prevent disease and death in impoverished countries.
50,000 caregivers. Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia isn’t easy. That’s why the Alzheimer's & Dementia Resource Center exists — to be a resource for those who help others — over 50,000 of them over the past 30 years.
60 years. That’s pre-Disney. And that’s when United Cerebral Palsy of Central Florida (now UCP) began serving special-needs kids who didn’t have other choices for school. Now, they help more than 3,000Ö kids with autism, Down Syndrome and more every year.
20,000 sick kids. Just last month, Ronald McDonald House hosted its 20,000th critically sick child and family. Also, two of the first guests of the house on the campus of the Arnold Palmer hospital just celebrated a milestone as well. Premature twins Ethan and Emma Andersen just turned 11.
15,000 students. Jamie McWilliam’s nonprofit story grew out of fury and sorrow. After her son was killed in a hit and run, she wanted to encourage kids to make the right choices in life. So she formed Parents Encouraging Confident Choices five years ago to bring the message of responsibility to students — and has spoken to 15,000 students since.
I know you folks have some more stories and milestones you want to share.
Please do so …