More than 1,100 homeless children were impacted by the City of Orlando’s “Summer of Dreams” program this year, which aims to provide a safety net for them during the summer months.

The program was borne out of the necessity to help homeless children, who are at a greater risk in the summertime after school has let out, with less access to food and other basic necessities like shelter and a place to sleep.

The Summer of Dreams program partners with the Fifth Third Bank to provide a free summer for children in need, including meals, academic enrichment, mentoring, school supplies and financial counseling for both parents and students.

The total number of children helped since the program’s start in 2011 is now over 7,000. This summer, there were over 1,300 backpacks given out and over 100,000 meals served.

As a bonus, Mayor Buddy Dyer even appeared a few times to volunteer with the program.

“This summer, the Summer of Dreams program continued to ensure that the children most in need in our community stayed both healthy and prepared for the academic year,” he said. “Through our City youth programs, we are focused on providing opportunity to our youngest residents and Summer of Dreams is a key part of our efforts to give children safe places to flourish as well as educational assistance.”

“We believe that an ongoing investment in our community can make a meaningful impact. And feeding the hungry and homeless is one of the bank’s foundational community priorities,” said Barb Scherer, Fifth Third Bank’s North Florida regional marketing director. “We’re proud of the collaborative effort of all of these organizations that resulted in a safe place for children to go this summer.”

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