Central Florida By The Numbers

According to the University of Central Florida’s Poverty in Central Florida Report, we are living in an era of increasing poverty in this country, evidenced by a six-year annual increase in the national poverty rate.*

Almost anyone who has been affected by the recent economic downturn would agree, the number of people in financial crisis, who are experiencing the effects of hunger and poverty are at an all time high, and we in Central Florida have certainly seen our share.

There is a misconception that the poor and low income population is economically idle, but the fact is that 49% of low income people in Central Florida are in fact part of the labor force. 44% of the working poor would prefer to work more hours than their employers are able to give them.*

Another 16% of our community’s poor and low income population are disabled and cannot work, 9% are students, stay-at-home moms and miscellaneous others and another 16% are elderly people who are beyond their working years. That leaves only 10% who are economically idle.*

Children are gravely affected by the economic troubles that have affected us all. In Orlando 27.5% of children live in poverty.** Within the City Beautiful, there are neighborhoods with an alarming rate of at-risk kids, such as the Parramore Heritage community a 1.4 square-mile neighborhood that is nearby the CFOC campus. It is home to over 2,000 children, 73% of whom live in poverty.*** Thousands of Central Florida kids like these need hope and resources to break the cycle of poverty and reach their full potential.

*University of Central Florida Institute for Social and Behavioral Sciences,
Poverty in Central Florida report by James D. Wright and Jana L. Jasinski, 2008.
**City of Orlando EITC Community Campaign Presentation, 2009.
***City of Orlando Parramore Kidz Zone Press Release, 2008.

Stories From Our Neighbors

Meet Valerie

It was January 2011. Valerie Williams was ending her 12th year of employment with Bank of America. She shared an apartment with her two teenage daughters and although many of her closest friends were struggling in a tough economic time, Valerie’s situation seemed pretty secure. She had never had to ask anyone for financial help. After all, both of her daughters had everything they needed and more. Everything with her job seemed the same, although some of Valerie’s co-workers had been laid off recently. Despite being surrounded by uncertainty, everything in Valerie’s world appeared to be normal. Unfortunately, that was all about to change…

Valerie was informed she was being laid off after 12 years of dedicated service. This news absolutely crushed her. As a single mom, how would she provide for her girls? How could she keep her apartment, much less shop for food without a job? Would her unemployment benefits sustain her until she found work again? Valerie scrambled to put her resume together and begin the search for a job in her field. Her search then expanded to any field that would take a chance on her.

Meanwhile, despite saving a little money here and there while she was employed, Valerie found herself left with only the money from her unemployment check to sustain her. She was behind in her rent to the point where her landlord was on the verge of evicting her. Other expenses were piling up and for the first time, Valerie truly feared she and her girls would end up on the street.

That is when she came to the Community Food & Outreach Center.

As a school project, one of Valerie’s daughters volunteered with CFOC. Her daughter encouraged Valerie to come down and check it out for herself. Valerie needed to reapply for food stamps and thought she could see some of the other aspects the center had to offer. After talking to the staff in the Crisis Center, Valerie received references for job opportunities, help with her utility bill, and some food for her family. Most importantly, Valerie realized she was not alone and that there was hope that things would soon improve. Valerie is now a regular client, taking advantage of the free computers provided to look for jobs. She also takes life management classes and is able to afford to buy some food at the cost share grocery store.

Valerie and others like her represent the new face of poverty in our community. Because of the support we receive from generous donors like you, the Community Food & Outreach Center is able to help people like Valerie in their greatest time of need.

 

Meet Stephanie

Stephanie came to us after experiencing a job loss. While dealing with this life crisis, she also discovered that her daughter was a victim of domestic abuse.

With nowhere else to go, Stephanie turned to  Community Food & Outreach Center where she discovered compassionate people who were able to help  her gain back some of the essentials she had lost, while also assuring her daughter receive the help she so desperately needed.

None of this is possible without the donations we receive from compassionate people like you!