ORLANDO, Fla. — The founder of a local nonprofit says this year even more families are in need of food and gifts for their children. 

What You Need To Know

  • Orlando nonprofit says it need more help to provide food, gifts to families 

  • Officials say the need is greater this year because of the pandemic

  • One Heart for Women and Children says its still needs sponsors for more than 100 families

The founder of One Heart for Women and Children says that need is even greater because some of the people who would give to other families are now in need because of the pandemic.

Tammara Vidal and Mike Pitsky have one huge family that came together last year. The father of her kids got stuck in Mexico trying to get citizenship. The mother of his kids was killed in a car crash.

“His life changed in a matter of seconds also, and he had to tell his children some bad news,” Vidal said.

Between Vidal and Pitsky, they have 18 kids – 15 of them all currently in one household. Vidal is on disability, and even as an experienced electrician, Pitsky says he’s not been able to find work during the pandemic.

“Everything is screwed up, it hasn’t been like this in a long time,” Pitsky said. “There’s nothing to really compare it to.”

Come January, they don’t know if they’ll have a home.

“Without having the money to pay for rent, I’m not sure what we’re going to end up doing,” Vidal said.

But luckily, for Christmas they’re getting help from One Heart for Women and Children. 

The Orlando nonprofit is working overtime right now to make sure families get the food they need and gifts to give their kids. But that’s an even bigger task this year. 

Just a week from Christmas, One Heart still needs people to sponsor about a quarter of their families and children. They need sponsors still for more than 100 families and more than 300 children who need gifts. 

The nonprofit’s founder, Stephanie Bowman, says some who’ve helped other families in the past are in need of their own help this year.

“Some of them have lost both jobs — both incomes in the home have either been cut or gone,” Bowman said.

Vidal says her family helps One Heart when they can. They’ve volunteered, helping to hand out food at the nonprofit’s College Park location. But this year, it’s the nonprofit that’s making sure they have food to eat, and soon, gifts under the tree.

“It’s hard and it’s sad, but what can we do?” Vidal said. “We all have each other and for Christmas Day we’ll have a meal.”

If you want to help families out, visit the One Heart for Women and Children website or call at (321) 299-4594.