Local nonprofit in need of donations as homelessness is on the rise

ORLANDO, Fla. — Homelessness is on the rise across the nation, and while donations to food banks and homeless shelters are usually steady this time of year, they don’t last long.

Christian Service Center, a local nonprofit, told Channel 9 the donations it’s getting now have to last for months.

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It is starting to be a big problem for those in need.

For Daniel Watson and thousands of others in Central Florida, homelessness is hard.

“I’m one of those people. I’ve been here for a while,” Watson said.

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Having a meal is a blessing, especially during the holidays.

“Lots of places you don’t end up with a plate like this. You end up with a plate with hardly nothing on it,” Watson said.

But when hot meals are not available, you have to fend for yourself.

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According to the Christian Service Center, it receives at least 70% of its food donations in the last six weeks of the year.

“You get into the winter months — February, March — and no one’s giving so we have to make these donations last throughout the year to get us through the spring and summer months,” said Bryan Hampton with Christian Service Center.

With evictions on the rise, it’s hard to keep up with the demand.

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“We’ve seen a huge increase to the visitors at our campus; our phones are ringing almost off the hook,” Hampton said.

Another problem is that many of the area’s homeless aren’t equipped to eat what they are sometimes given.

“We need items that are easily opened for people that don’t have can openers,” Hampton said. “We need pop-top food items. We need individually wrapped items.”

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They are items that will continue to save lives in the months to come.

The center is closed Friday. Click here to find more information on how you can donate.

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Karen Parks

Karen Parks, WFTV.com

Karen Parks is a reporter at WFTV.