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

Toys for Hope Plans to Bring Joy to Kids who are Homeless

New Toy Drive

This year Amy and I are hosting the Toys for Hope event which is a New Toy Drive for kids who are homeless and at-risk families who will be attending the Christmas Carnival put on by Matthew’s Hope in our neighboring town of Winter Garden, days later.

Please help us spread the word on this event

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Toys For Hope Supports Matthew’s Hope in Winter Garden, FL

Each year, Matthew’s Hope puts on a Christmas Carnival where volunteers organize games for families who are homeless or at-risk of becoming homeless.  Kids walk around and have a chance to win prizes while they wait for the arrival of Santa Claus, who comes in riding on a Fire Truck courtesy of the Winter Garden Fire Department.  When Santa arrives, the kids are guided through a large room of new toys, and with the help of volunteers, they put together a Christmas list of items they want to ask Santa for.  The children then meet Santa and he takes their list to fulfill their wishes.

We are asking everyone in the Metro Orlando community to join us in helping bring joy to all these children by buying new toys and dropping them off at Windermere Preparatory School from 1-4pm on December 6th.

If you are unsure of what to buy, we can provide a list at your request.  Because of the daily involvement of Matthew’s Hope in the community there will be no limit of donations as they are in tune with the community and have the ability to bless others that may not attend the Christmas Carnival.

Windermere Preparatory School is located at 6189 Winter Garden Vineland Rd, Windermere, FL 34786

Thank you all!  If you have any questions, please call or email to our info below


Dave & Amy Vanz




House Warming at Matthew’s Hope

Matthew’s Hope Opens their Transition Homes

After months of rehabbing homes, Matthew’s Hope held a house warming event for two homes out of the 6 that were completed. The homes will serve as transition homes for the people who have been going through the program and are ready to make the next transition. Matthew’s Hope works with the homeless in the Winter Garden, FL area. People in the program go through rehabilitation and these homes are for those that have reached the point in the program where they are ready to begin transition, back on their feet.  Serving those that have worked hard to rehab these homes and to see the amazing work that has been done has been a true blessing.

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