The minivan pulls up to the dilapidated Star Hotel, just 3 miles east of Celebration, one of many lining the 192 corridor. It’s 4:30 on Saturday afternoon, and the children start to congregate close to the minivan. Bettina is the founder from Embrace, the new outreach here in Celebration, shoos the kids back as she unloads the tables and food donations from Bettina”s van. Bettina sets up the two tables she was able to borrow and begins to unload the food she has managed to collect for distribution. Some residents pop their heads out of the windows to greet her. They’ve started to expect her, recognize her, trust her. The kids keep arriving and the excitement builds in anticipation as the word spreads. Each child will get either a banana or orange along with Ramen noodles, Mac and Cheese a cereal bar. Cases of water, some bags of rice, juice boxes and an assortment of various other items will be given out as well. In 10 minutes the tables will be empty. Bettina reloads the tables back into her van and prepares to do this again the following day.
Many here in Celebration have been generous with their donations both with actual food and in some cases, money, which allows Embrace to shop at Sam’s Club and buy in bulk. Others have put together lunch bags which have been passed out from Bettina to both the homeless and to children living along 192. It truly is a team effort to meet the needs of those hardest hit during these trying times. Please contact Embrace if you too would like to participate. This isn’t a sprint, but a marathon, as we join together to meet the needs of the less fortunate over the weeks and possibly months to come.