Mayor Teresa Jacobs recently joined Orange County Public Works for the 5th Annual Pasta with a Purpose, an employee luncheon that benefits the children of Great Oaks Village (GOV).
GOV is a residential foster group home for children, 6 to 18 years old, who have been removed from their homes by the State of Florida due to abuse, neglect or abandonment.
“The pasta was hearty and delicious, but most of all, I enjoyed sharing a meal with our dedicated and hard working Orange County employees,” Mayor Teresa Jacobs said. “I wish to thank Public Works for their efforts in coordinating such a successful benefit and sincerely appreciate the generous hearts of our employees for giving back to such a worthwhile cause.”
Orange County’s Director of Public Works Mark Massaro oversees the annual fundraising event, which sold out this year with over 300 attendees.
“Everything was donated from the food to the decorations on the walls and tables,”Massaro said. “We got here at 5 a.m. to make all of the food from scratch.”
Public Works organizes several different fundraising events for GOV throughout the year, but Pasta with a Purpose is by far the division’s largest fundraising event. Pasta with a Purpose raised $2,200 last year, and Massaro estimates this year’s proceeds could reach $3,000.
“These kids need a break,” Massaro said. “They need some fun in their lives. I feel like these children are ours and need our attention and care.”
Vicki Dalton, the Multimedia Special Projects Coordinator for Public Works, said the donations and money raised from the event go toward extra curricular activities for the children of GOV.
“This money provides funding for the children to do everything from taking music lessons to playing little league football,” Dalton said. “Kids are usually able to participate in these types of activities with the help of their parents. That’s where we step in and give them some normalcy in their lives.”
Public Works is composed of over 500 employees and seven departments including development engineering, public works engineering, highway construction, traffic engineering, road and drainage, storm water management and fiscal and operational support.
Each of these departments coordinates their own fundraisers to raise funds for United Way and GOV. Some of the events from past years include chili cook-offs, dinner and a movie tickets and a yard sale.