When school lets out for the summer, fewer critical resources are available for Central Florida’s growing population of homeless children. To help fill this need, Fifth Third Bank has stepped up once again as the founding sponsor for Summer of Dreams,
For 10-weeks each summer, the Summer of Dreams program offers homeless youth a free summer camp that includes regular meals, learning opportunities and interaction with friends and mentors. Since 2011, Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida has served nearly 775,000 meals to Summer of Dreams kids as well as weekend take home bags. Each week, Fifth Third Bank employees and other volunteers join Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida workers and volunteers to pack weekend take-home meals for children in the Summer of Dreams program.
In addition to the services for the youth, the program also provides free financial counseling for parents and students.
“We believe that an ongoing investment in our community can make a meaningful impact. And feeding the hungry and homeless is one of the bank’s foundational community priorities,” said Barb Scherer, Fifth Third Bank’s affiliate marketing director. “We’re proud to once again be working with a number of great organizations in Central Florida to provide food and a safe place for children to go during the summer.”
This program has helped serve more than 5,500 homeless children in Orange, Seminole and Osceola counties since its inception in 2011. Community partners include Orlando After-School All-Stars, Boys and Girls Club of Central Florida, Second Harvest Food Bank, and A Gift for Teaching.
With parents who either work at low-paying jobs or spend the day searching for work, homeless children are often left alone in dangerous neighborhoods, “hungry, idle and disengaged,” Dee added.
“I’m thankful to Fifth Third Bank for founding this program and all of our partners for their efforts to help our region’s homeless youth,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer.
For $186 per child or $5,000 for an entire classroom, community partners can sponsor students to attend Summer of Dreams and allow their families to receive desperately needed resources for the entire 10 weeks of summer break. Financial contributions can be dropped off at any Fifth Third Bank location in Central Florida. Checks can also be made payable to After-School All-Stars (with “Summer of Dreams” noted in the memo line) and mailed to After-School All-Stars at 400 S. Orange Ave. Orlando, Fla. 32801