Feature Initiative: Emerging Needs


New Winter Park Health Foundation Grants Tackle Critical Community Needs

Challenging economic times have prompted the Winter Park Health Foundation (WPHF) to seek creative ways to stay focused on its mission of creating the healthiest community in the U.S. while addressing the emerging critical needs of the community.

The Foundation is reaching out to those in need by partnering with the Second Harvest Food Bank, as well as the Heart of Florida United Way.

Second Harvest Food Bank Programs:

In 2008 and 2009, WPHF awarded grants to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida to support several unique projects designed to help those vulnerable from going hungry.

  • WPHF awarded a $130,376 grant to support the Second Harvest Food Bank’s Benefits Connection program created to help people who are eligible for food stamps and other federally-supported services obtain them. The program provides outreach specialists that visit food pantries and other community locations, equipped with computers, to walk people through the sometimes confusing and lengthy application process.
  • WPHF approved another $25,000 grant to expand the Food Bank’s Hi-Five Backpack Program to serve needy students attending Hungerford and Cheney elementary schools. Under this program, students identified as suffering from chronic hunger, are given free food packs containing nutritious items to be consumed at home. The food packs, prepared at the Food Bank’s warehouse, are discreetly slipped into the students’ back packs.

In addition to food, the packs include literature—in Spanish and English—for parents and guardians on subjects such as food stamps, earned income tax credit and other potential sources of support.

  • To supplement these efforts, WPHF recently approved an $84,000 grant to support the Pantry Plus program. Under this program, the Food Bank will pack and provide extra food boxes to be distributed through pantries in Winter Park, Maitland and Eatonville to those in need. An estimated 6,000 boxes will be distributed over the next six months.

Hear of Florida United Way Program:

  • WPHF awarded a $100,000 grant to Heart of Florida United Way to support its Basic Needs Campaign which provides immediate financial help to Central Floridians needing help with food, rent, transportation and other life essentials.

The successful campaign was established in early 2009 with nearly $300,000 in funding from Dr. Phillips Charities and $50,000 from Bank of America. Universal Orlando Foundation joined WPHF in contributing $100,000.

Those needing help can call 2-1-1, a free 24-hour a day information and referral hotline. WPHF was one of the original funders of the service which was launched in 2003.