When Windermere resident Miles Newbold was 9, he approached his mother, Danielle, wanting to give cash to people the family encountered who were in need. Danielle said she knew there had to be a better way to help.
The Miles to Go nonprofit organization, started in February 2018, aims to provide those individuals with the basic necessities they might not have access to otherwise. The custom drawstring bags are filled with items ranging from toothbrushes and deodorant to hand sanitizer, beef jerky and an MTG T-shirt.
Now 13, Miles and the nonprofit have donated more than 6,000 MTG bags.
Whether it’s a 3-year-old child or a senior citizen packing the bags, anyone can help give back. Danielle Newbold said she believes the community can spread love to one another through the simplicity and accessibility of MTG.
Although the nonprofit has made some changes since its beginning to better accommodate the local need, such as adding in sunscreen and rain ponchos to the bags, Danielle Newbold said the MTG mission and passion has remained the same.
“It’s evolved where — obviously we started this because we wanted to help the homeless, we wanted something to give when we were in those situations — but the surprise twist was how the giver is affected,” Danielle Newbold said. “From the very beginning we said our mission was to spread love one bag at a time, but what it’s doing is bit by bit, bag by bag, creating a more compassionate society … and that never grows old.”
The Newbolds have always kept MTG bags in their car to hand out if they see someone in need.
“If we see someone and we can’t get to them we make a U-turn … and we’re super disappointed when we can’t,” Danielle Newbold said. “It’s changed our lives in that way, and we see that it can easily be doing that for everyone else as well.”
The Newbolds also give the bags out in bulk, taking trips to places like Lake Eola.
MTG now has its very own brick-and-mortar location in the Dr. Phillips community, a change Danielle Newbold said was much needed as the nonprofit was “bursting out of the seams” at the family’s house.
The new space, shared with Orlando Body & Movement, has been the two businesses’ home for about three years.
Danielle Newbold said she had been a personal training client at the business, and the center’s owners provided the first 150 blank and empty bags for MTG as a sign of their belief and support of the Newbolds’ idea when it first started.
Since that time, the two organizations’ belief in each other has never faltered and they work together to run the space through a mutual partnership.
Danielle Newbold said when people come into the nonprofit they can make a donation and have as many bags as the funds cover, but if it’s a financial burden for the person, MTG will take nothing.
“Take a bag, go out and give it, and that, while it doesn’t seem wise business practices, it works, and everything just comes back to us,” Danielle Newbold said.
Another newer aspect to MTG is its merchandise, which Danielle Newbold designs with the help of graphic designer and friend Melanie Torres.
The merchandise line started with two T-shirts in the fall of 2018 and has since grown to offer selections for men and women including towels, hoodies, baby clothes and water bottles. One hundred percent of the profits go toward creating the MTG bags.
Danielle Newbold said she encourages everyone to purchase a gift that will make a lasting impact.
Like Miles, his siblings Violet, 10, and Reed, 9, also have high hopes to help others.
In 2018, shortly after MTG began, Danielle Newbold said, a bin of Violet’s stuffed animals appear near the other bins the family kept around their entry table.
When Violet expressed her desire to give her old stuffed animals to children in need, Danielle ordered 50 of the same style MTG bags, but in purple, and waited for the right opportunity to come along.
Danielle Newbold said she had called the Harbor House of Central Florida, a nonprofit that helps women affected by domestic violence, to see if the organization could use 17 female-centric MTG bags.
At the time, the Newbolds had realized dividing the bags into male- and female-centric was a logistical nightmare and decided to develop a standard bag.
When the Harbor House informed the family the nonprofit housed 45 women and children at the time, the Newbolds put together 50 bags with essentials.
Since then, MTG has donated hundreds of bags to Harbor House on a consistent basis; Danielle Newbold said she would love to partner with other similar organizations.
In 2022, Reed approached his mother and said he wanted to help do something for children who were lonely and didn’t have parents.
Danielle Newbold ordered 50 more bags in red, and the family partnered with the Great Oaks Village foster group home, calling to see what items would be useful while donating Kindles.
The Newbolds even upgraded the red bags by putting them into new rolling duffle bags so the children could easily travel from group homes to temporary foster care placements with a space to keep their belongings.
MTG has also partnered with other local organizations and businesses such as The Sharing Center in Longwood, which works to prevent hunger and homelessness.
In addition to donating hundreds of bags, the Newbolds worked with The Sharing Center Oasis, which provides services such as showers, laundry service, housing guidance and internet access, to help expand from three showers to six last week. The MTG-sponsored renewal center will now offer an area for people to get haircuts and manicures.
Danielle Newbold said the nonprofit is able to do bigger work through partnering organizations, such as expanding its reach within local schools.
MTG has worked with Windermere and Lake Highland preparatory schools in addition to occasional events at other schools. Danielle Newbold said she would love for each grade level to be assigned certain MTG supplies and then go and pack bags together at the schools, offering children to take bags to give out if they express interest.
The Newbolds said they plan to provide the bags of hope to those in need forever.