On October 29, 2016, the Parish Life Center at St. Mary Magdalen Parish in Altamonte Springs was filled to the brim with more than 430 guests who came to raise money for the critical ministry of Pathways to Care that serves homeless men, women and veterans recovering from a serious illness or injury. Participants exceeded the fundraising goal by 8 percent to support the residents cared for by Pathways.
Over 400 hand-painted bowls were created for each guest by area students from Trinity Prep, Lake Mary, Hagerty and Lake Howell High Schools along with professional artists from Artistic Hand and Ben and Diane Evans. In addition to the “Artistic Student Award” for the most artistic bowl given to Dakota, from Lake Howell High School, the organization also recognized Jim Hoge, founder of Z88.3 radio station and Pathways to Care chairman of the board as recipient of the annual “Making a Difference” award.
Over bowls of soup from local restaurants served by Bishop John Noonan, Father John Bluett of St. Stephen Parish in Winter Springs and others, guests heard from Hope Nichols, a Pathways to Care resident. In a moving speech Nichols told the audience, “I am the new face of homelessness.” A Navy veteran, she said she never expected to be in this position and credited Pathways with getting her through it and giving her hope for her future.