WEST ORANGE If you need a good excuse to dine out with the family, Thursday, June 30, would be a good day to do so.
Dine Out for Orlando United, organized by the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association in partnership with VISIT FLORIDA, is an event that spans throughout the day Thursday and allows restaurants, employees and customers to support the OneOrlando Fund.
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer created the OneOrlando Fund following the June 12 shooting at Pulse Orlando nightclub. The mission is to provide support to the victims and families of the shooting, as well as for other needs now and for years to come.
During Dine Out for Orlando United, customers who eat at participating restaurants and locations can have a portion of their checks donated to the OneOrlando Fund. They also can choose to make direct donations to the fund. Employees can help by choosing to work a shift on June 30, by volunteering their time or by donating a portion of their tips.
For the restaurants, there are myriad ways they can participate, and the extent of each business’ participation is up to them. Some options include: donating a portion of total sales; making a donation for every guest served; collecting donations received from guests and staff; making a donation for every sale of a specific item; or identifying a set donation amount.
Melts on Main Street in downtown Winter Garden is one of the participating restaurants. As soon as owner Matt Erickson heard the news of the Pulse tragedy, there was no doubt in his mind that he wanted to help in whatever way possible. On Thursday, MOMS will participate in Dine Out for Orlando United by donating 50% of total sales.
“It was an absolutely horrible tragedy, you know, watching the news over and over again and seeing how horribly affected these families were,” Erickson said. “It just made sense for me to reach out in whatever way I can. If it’s financial and that’s what they need the most, then that’s what I’m going to give.”
Additionally, Urban Flats in Winter Garden will participate by donating 10% of its sales for the day. Owner David Downs said he hopes the event will show its beneficiaries that the community stands behind them.
“I (want them to) know that they have support from the hospitality industry in general,” Downs said. “It really just shows them that we’re all one big family, that we’re here for you and will do anything we can do.”
For more information, visit frla.org/dine-out-orlando.
Contact Danielle Hendrix at [email protected].