Heart of Florida United Way Partners with Orlando Winterfest to Bring Aid to Hospitality Tourism Workers Impacted by the Economic Consequences of COVID-19

Blog Image Winterfest 2020

The economic consequences of COVID-19 have taken a toll on the Central Florida economy, particularly the hospitality and tourism industry. As one of the primary drivers of the local economy, this industry has experienced significant declines in visitation, bookings and traffic. As a result, many individuals have been left furloughed, laid off, or with reduced work hours.

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, nearly 2.6 million households in Florida were considered ALICE (Assets Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) and one emergency away from financial ruin.  The pandemic resulted in millions of people becoming unemployed and set the stage for an unprecedented economic crisis. As reported in Heart of Florida United Way’s 2020 ALICE Report, 47% of Central Florida household income was at or below the ALICE Survival Budget — and this was before the economic consequences of COVID-19. Since then, we have all witnessed the impact.

In an effort to bring holiday cheer to Central Florida and aid to tourism and hospitality workers struggling financially, the Alliance Nationwide Exposition is launching Orlando Winterfest 2020 at the Orange County Convention Center, West Concourse.  Winterfest 2020 will open Thursday, Dec 3, and run through Sunday, Dec 6.  This event will offer special fundraising efforts to support individuals currently on the waiting list to receive assistance from Heart of Florida United Way who are currently or were formerly employed in the hospitality and tourism industry. Funds raised from Orlando Winterfest for this cause will complement existing resources and offer support to additional ALICE families with rent and utility assistance. 

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Orlando Winterfest will showcase a holiday market with over 1,000 vendors offering the ultimate gift shopping experience for the entire family. In addition to shopping, there will be family-friendly activities, festive food and beverage options, live music, and entertainment for all ages. The Orange County Convention Center will be decorated for the holidays with festive photo opportunities showcasing designer sets, trees, and wreaths placed throughout the exhibits.

To get your tickets to Winterfest, visit www.orlandowinterfest.com.  

To learn more about available resources in the community, dial 211, text your zip code to 898211 or chat online at www.hfuw.org/GetHelp.