• Downtown Orlando YMCA members donate food to struggling families


    ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - When central Florida schools go on break for the holidays, some children won't get regular meals, but Channel 9's Lori Brown found one elementary school that plans to make sure its students don't go hungry.

    Carol Cone works at 7-Eleven. Her paychecks aren't big, but her family is.

    Cone's children normally eat breakfast and lunch at school, but when school breaks on Friday for the holiday, she'll need to provide two weeks' worth of meals for her family.

    "I usually spend about $150 weekly trying to feed the six," she said.

    Downtown Orlando YMCA members donated food and grocery store gift cards so Fern Creek Elementary School families can prepare special meals over the holiday.

    "That's like winning the lottery for my family," said Cone. "That means one day I don't have to worry about. That's Christmas dinner."

    "We have a lot going on inside the building, but we decided it's time to get out of our four walls and connect with the community," said the YMCA's executive director, Jody Alexander.

    About 95 percent of the students at Fern Creek Elementary School are living in poverty, officials said. Principal Patrick Galatowitsch said he sees it as his responsibility to send students home with more than just homework.

    "If children are coming to school and not feeling safe, a full belly, cared for, they're not going to be able or ready to learn at high levels," he said.

    The Christian Service Center is gifting extra bags of food to many of its Love Pantries that are now in 53 Orange County schools.

    Click Here to donate to the Fern Creek Elementary School Foundation.

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