Giving Tuesday: donates $50,000 to help dozens of Central Florida families in need

Holiday Miracle recipients use money to pay rent, bills

ORLANDO, Fla. – The holidays will be a little brighter for dozens of families in Central Florida with help from and the Heart of Florida United Way.

On Giving Tuesday, donated $50,000 to the Heart of Florida United Way to help low-income families.

“Overwhelmingly, Holiday Miracle recipients are putting these dollars toward paying for January’s rent,” CEO of Heart of Florida United Way Jeff Hayward said.

About 350,000 households in Orange, Osceola, and Seminole counties struggle to cover basic needs. They are considered “ALICE” households which stands for Asset, Limited, Income, Constrained and Employed.

Jason Kellie said his family struggled after his wife got sick from a tooth extraction. The two have five children.

“We were unable to work both of us because I had to take care of her and we have five children at home," Kellie said. “So they needed to be taken care of as well and we were unable to make ends meet from there.”

He said part of the grant from United Way will help pay electricity and rent this month.

“We are feeling optimistic now that things are starting to look up for us," he said. “In January we’ll actually be able to have every dollar accounted for.”

Kellie said his wife is part of the United Way’s Destination Graduation program and is hoping to land a job with Advent Health following graduation.

About the Author:

Ezzy Castro is a multimedia journalist on News 6's morning team who has a passion for telling the stories of the people in the Central Florida community. Ezzy worked at WFOR CBS4 in South Florida and KBMT in Beaumont, Texas, where she covered Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Being from Miami, Ezzy loves Cuban coffee and croquetas!