On June 30, people across the state of Florida went out to dinner and, at the same time, helped victims of the Orlando Pulse tragedy.
The Dine Out Orlando fundraiser, organized by the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association in partnership with Visit Florida, raised more than $750,000 for the OneOrlando fund, according to a release from the FRLA. Nearly 1,500 restaurants across the state participated and donated funds directly to OneOrlando.
Restaurants contributed in several ways: Guests at restaurants made direct donations and restaurateurs donated a percentage of their daily receipts, ranging from 10 percent to 100 percent. Employees worked a shift and volunteered their time or donated a portion of their tips. Other local businesses raised awareness by promoting the fundraiser or donating directly to the OneOrlando fund.
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Establishments reported lines out the door throughout the day on June 30, according to the release.
“I am in awe of our friends, family and colleagues in hospitality, who offered their help and hearts to ensure our Sunshine State remains strong,” said Carol Dover, president and CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, in a release. “Thank you to Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Florida Gov. Rick Scott for dining with us on Thursday, and their steadfast support of Dine Out for Orlando United. We are incredibly proud to take part in Orlando's healing, grateful for those who contributed to this effort and are continuing to pray for the victims, their families and our community.”
As restaurants continue to report donations, the amount of total contributions is expected to grow.
The OneOrlando Fund is a project of Strengthen Orlando Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation created for the purpose of supporting and starting projects to strength the Orlando community. Funds received into the OneOrlando Fund are directly distributed to victims’ families and survivors in an open, transparent and fair manner, according to the release.