Toys For Hope Brings Toys and Gifts to Homeless Children in Orange County

Thank You to Our Community

I want to thank everyone who stepped up and supported my family yesterday with our Toys for Hope event. We are so grateful for the people who helped spread the word about the event, and of course, all of you who came by to drop off gifts and say hi. Thanks to those who stayed and helped pack up the donations and thank you to Windermere Preparatory School who graciously allowed us to use their property as a drop-off point as well as help draw people in to support the cause.

A Successful Toy Drive

Our Toys for Hope event collected over 300 gifts in just 3 hours! The event took place from 1-4pm on December 6th and by 4pm we needed to call in reinforcements to help haul all the goods.  Three car/truck loads were packed to the max and were hauled off to the Matthew’s Hope warehouse in Winter Garden.

Matthew’s Hope Christmas Carnival

All the gifts collected at our event will be set up on display at the Matthew’s Hope Christmas Carnival, which takes place on December 12th.  There, children who are homeless, and whose families are working with the Matthew’s Hope program, will walk through a room of toys and gifts filling out a list of things they want to ask Santa for.  They will then meet Santa who arrives on a fire truck courtesy of the Winter Garden Fire Department.  With the help of their families, and of course Santa, Christmas morning will become a magical moment for these beautiful children.

What is Matthew’s Hope?

Matthew’s Hope is a program that works hard day in and day out helping rehabilitate people who are homeless.  The program, which refers to the homeless as Guests, provides healthcare, counseling, transitional housing, jobs and services such as haircuts, showers and more.  Guests who enroll in the program are given jobs that help them earn points that they can use towards purchasing needed items.  There is a large pantry on-site at Matthew’s Hope where Guests can buy things such as food, diapers and toiletries.  Once Guests have reached a certain level in the program they will receive career counseling and help in finding a job.  Matthew’s Hope is dedicated in the community to providing people in need with a hand up rather than a hand out.  For more information, you can find them at

Matthew’s Hope
Address: 1460 Daniels Rd, Winter Garden, FL 34787

Benefit Party For Matthew’s Hope Brought Needed Donations

It was an evening of community, compassion and fun.

A Benefit Party for Matthew’s Hope

Photos and stories from people who have gone through, or are going through, the Matthew’s Hope program were placed in different areas of the Beer & Wine event that took place on Saturday night at the home of Dave and Amy Vanz in Windermere, FL.  As guests came in and mingled around they took time to read each of the stories around the home learning more about the non-profit that is helping people get back on their feet after finding themselves homeless and without jobs.  Each of the guests who came to the event brought a donation that was listed on the invite.  From toiletries to dishes to socks and under garments, people kicked off the week of Thanksgiving with the giving of their hearts.

From Trashed to Useful

Let me just start out by saying that leaving your bicycle outside in Florida will DESTROY it. The seats on our bikes burned. Literally burned! The top of them were black like somebody lit them on fire. Amy’s bike was the worst. Her chain was rusted shut, her jelly cushion seat was burned and nastified, the sidewall on her tires literally melted and burst(ed) and her tubes were sticking out. None of us have used our bikes much since moving down here but we’ve been getting the itch to get out there and pedal.

I was faced with two problems: Fixing a bike and figuring out how to find a cheap kids seat for Dawson.

Taking the bike apart brought me back. Back when I used my friends quality used bike parts to modify my huffy and make it look somewhat cool. It was fun tearing it apart and it felt great! (It made me want to get into biking all the more)

After spending more money than anticipated on bike parts, I was left with a little budget to find a child seat. I decided to text my friends to see if they had a used one to donate. Nadda, but my friend Shari emailed me with some child seats listed on Craigslist. One of the listings didn’t have a picture but listed the seat at $3. I could do that.

The seller happened to be in Keene’s Pointe subdivision right down the road from me so I left to pick it up.

Wow! the seat was complete garbage! LOL. I gave the guy $3 and decided to make it my project. Filled with moldy goodness and rusted parts I clean it up to see what would happened. With some sand paper, paint, LOTS OF BLEACH and some time, here’s what it turned out looking like. (The orange paint by the way is an obsession color associated with my Dutchness)

One less child seat in a landfill, because I can assure you that’s where it was headed

Managing your Reputation Online

Some people say that if you’re not pissing people off, you’re not doing your job. That can be true, especially if you’re pushing forward making noise in your industry. You can’t please everyone, and if you tried, you’d never see the potential of your company.

But should you care when people complain about you on the internet?

Yes. Like your sisters name on the towns water tower, you should be concerned.