One Heart holds drive-thru food collection at Florida Mall to support local families

ORLANDO, Fla. — Dozens of people went to the Florida Mall on Tuesday to donate food and other supplies to help women and children in need.

The deserted parking lot at the mall came to life on Cinco de Mayo for a food collection drive that was more like a fiesta.

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“Honk if you're happy to be out of your home” signs showed as drivers brought food and other supplies for an organization called One Heart.

“It is the first day that a lot of people are out, and we decided we'd have a drive up, drive-thru service where people could donate,” One Heart founder Stephanie Bowman said.

Before COVID-19, One Heart served about 3,000 women and children each month. That number has now skyrocketed as most of Central Florida's hospitality service industry has been decimated.

Donations will be converted to food and supply packages.

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“It's fresh produce, it's meats, dairy, cheese, nonperishables. (There’s) enough food for four days - breakfast, lunch and dinner for a family of four,” Bowman said.

Normally, the organization's budget comes in under $3,000 a month, but it has ballooned to $5,000 a week.

An anonymous donor came forward Tuesday and said they would match dollar-for-dollar everything donated on the day up to $21,000.

Steve Barrett

Steve Barrett, WFTV.com

Reporter Steve Barrett returned to WFTV in mid-2017 after 18 months in the Twin Cities, where he worked as Vice President of Communications for an Artificial Intelligence software firm aligned with IBM.