Central Florida child welfare service getting by with donations after main fundraiser canceled

ORLANDO, Fla. — One of Central Florida’s favorite charity events had to be put on hold this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The “Dance, Dream, Inspire” event is usually the biggest fundraiser for a local child welfare agency called “Embrace Families.”

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Embrace Families is dedicated to ensuring children grow up in safe homes by providing support to families to overcome neglect and abuse, and through support for foster care, adoption, and mentoring programs.

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Posted by Embrace Families on Wednesday, March 24, 2021

The need for their services has only grown during the pandemic.

“On any given day, we work with 3,000 children and then families connected to them,” Embrace Families Director of Development Libby Allison said. “In the pandemic, those numbers have slightly increased in terms of families connected with pathways to homes. We used to get 70 requests a month for help...At the height of the closure in the pandemic, it was 70 a day.”

While the decision to cancel their biggest fundraiser was a tough one, Allison says the pandemic has proven to be powerless against generosity.

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She says the approximately $120,000 they usually raise through “Dance, Dream, Inspire” has mostly been made up by donations, only needing about $20,000 more to reach their goal.

“Hope is on the Horizon,” Allison says. “I think people have really responded, once they hear the work that Embrace Families does, and the impact that it’s going to have with every dollar raised is a real big motivator,” Allison says.

To learn how to donate or volunteer, click here.

Joe Kepner, WFTV.com

I unloaded the U-Haul in Orlando in 2008, just in time to cover the Magic's run to the 2009 NBA Finals.