Orlando was a small town about to burst into a metropolis. Tourism, plentiful jobs, and a great climate teamed up to draw thousands to Central Florida. It was the 1970’s and the boom was on. Nobody was ready, however, for the changes the boom would bring.
It was only a matter of time before private and public resources were exhausted, leaving many who had come to share in the success alone and forgotten in the shadows of the community. Everyone joined in—churches, businesses, civic groups, foundations, and individuals—and the Christian Service Center for Central Florida was formed.
Through Daily Bread, meals were served, the hungry were fed, and many were given other assistance such as leads on jobs, overnight housing, medical assistance, transportation assistance, or referrals to other agencies. Twenty-six years later, it’s the new millennium, and yet poverty and hunger still exist in Central Florida. Thankfully the Christian Service Center is still there to help those who are hungry. Daily Bread will feed up to 500 people on any given day. To date, over 2.25 million meals have been served. Many that they serve are chronic homeless and/or mentally ill who eat at Daily Bread every day. They also serve those in the community who are commonly referred to as the “working poor,” those who are striving to make ends meet, and do—barely.
In September 2000, Daily Bread expanded its services once again. In an effort to keep the homeless off the streets of downtown Orlando, the Center opened a Friday night coffee house in the downtown Orlando Daily Bread building. The coffeehouse opens its doors the first and third Friday of each month. The Center provides coffee, refreshments, music and games to all who attend. The evening is co-sponsored by Inner-city Community Church and Barnie’s Coffee.
Daily Bread has allowed the Center to reach out and touch those in need at their most vulnerable time and lead them into a family of service organizations to offer a hand up, not a hand out.