Visit Orlando distributes Magical Dining funds

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Magic Dining check

Visit Orlando presented a check to two local charities with the proceeds raised through this year’s Magical Dining promotion. The organizations, Pathlight Home and iDignity, two local charities that deal with homelessness and providing essential services, will share $289,291, representing one dollar for every Magical Dining meal sold by participating restaurants. (Apparently, one person dined solo.)

Pictured in the photo above, from left, are Brian Comes, Visit Orlando board chair; IDignity representatives Michael Dippy, Anne Taylor and Phillip Henry; Pathlight HOME representatives Gabriella Trevino and Babette Allen; Casandra Matej, Visit Orlando president and CEO.

The presentation was made during Visit Orlando’s annual meeting Friday.

“We were honored to have been chosen as a beneficiary of this year’s Magical Dining program,” said Helaine Blum, CEO and co-founder of Pathlight Home. “To date over 7,000 homeless and low-income individuals have found a home and support services through our organization. And, thanks to this funding, even more will have the comfort of a roof over their head and the services they need to become empowered, self-sufficient members of our community.”

Dippy, executive director of IDignity, said: ”All of us at IDignity were extremely grateful and humbled to have been a beneficiary of Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining program this year. IDignity is honored to partner in improving the quality of life in Orlando by assisting U.S. citizens and legal residents in obtaining their legal identification documents. Access to identification not only empowers individuals to better their own lives, it also cultivates a society that is more inclusive, productive, and secure for us all."

During the promotion, which ran from Aug 27 through Oct. 17, including a two-week extension, participating restaurants presented three-course menus priced at $37. The restaurants pay Visit Orlando a marketing fee to participate and agree to donate one dollar from each Magical Dining sale to the charities.

In many cases, the prix fixe menu represents a bargain over the restaurant’s regular a la carte menu prices and diners see it as a way to try a restaurant that may ordinarily be out of budget range. Restaurants see it as a way to introduce themselves to new customers.

This year, Visit Orlando extended the program’s impact by awarding a $2,000 donation to one local nonprofit on the front lines of homelessness in each of Orange County’s six commission districts. Those recipients included The Central Florida Hope Center, Latino Leadership, Matthew’s Hope, Professional Opportunities Program, Project Street Light and Zebra Coalition.

Since 2009, Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining has raised over $2 million for local charities.

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