Water park hosts rubber duck race to help fight homelessness in Central Florida

Island H2O Live, Pathway Homes of Florida partner to put on inaugural event

KISSIMMEE, Fla. – A local water park partnered up with Pathway Homes of Florida to help the fight to end homelessness in Central Florida.

News 6 Chief Meteorologist Tom Sorrells hosted the event and with his own quacks and the cheering of the crowd, over 900 rubber ducks from large to small swam around the parts of the lazy river at Island H20 live.

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Each duck represents a donation, money going to Pathway Homes of Florida, which is working to get results and end homelessness in Central Florida.

“Any time one person is homeless, it impacts our entire economy, so being able to eradicate homelessness in our backyard is huge,” said Dr. Sylisa Lambert-Woodard, president and CEO of Pathway Homes of Florida.

According to Pathway, 97% of people they served remained in housing.

Currently, the group serves about 175 people but with the money raised at the duck race, they are hoping to reach the more than 5,000 individuals who are homeless in Central Florida.

“The pandemic has exacerbated homelessness. Individuals who never thought they would be homeless find themselves without a home and those basic needs that they require, so it’s even more important for us to educate and advocate for one another,” Lambert-Woodard said.

Sorrells said the event also made an impact on him.

“You start to see a different picture of how people end up homeless. When you pull up to a freeway and see a homeless guy there, you wonder how he got there,” Sorrells said.

Commissioner Peggy Choudhry also said the extra help serving the homeless community is much-needed right now.

“In this pandemic, we know for sure that we are going to need to help and assist our families and our residents living here day to day, working and struggling during this pandemic,” Choudhry said.

The event raised over $15,000 and hopes to expand their efforts.

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About the Author:

Brian Didlake joined the News 6 team as a reporter in March 2021.