For Orlando City and Orlando Pride Senior Vice President of Community Relations Kay Rawlins, last week’s “Delivering Hope” event is a textbook example of what this Club and this community are here for.
“When we moved into this community [in 2011], we said we wanted to be good neighbors and we wanted to do everything we could to be a part of this community,” Rawlins said, “And nights like this are just a perfect opportunity to do that.”
Orlando City and Orlando Pride, in partnership with CITY Furniture, hosted a pajama party event at Exploria Stadium for 100 children and their families from seven local nonprofit organizations. The night culminated with the surprise unveiling of brand-new twin-size beds with bedding for each child in attendance, along with two tickets to an Orlando City game.
“The surprise on those kids’ faces was priceless,” said Orlando City goalkeeper Adam Grinwis, who attended the event and signed autographs for the children. “I just looked at those kids as they approached the bed and looked at it, and I had to explain to them, ‘this is gonna be at your house! This is going to be your personal bed,’ and they couldn’t believe it. Just such a special moment, I’m so glad that we could be a part of it.”
“When you can help children who have been underserved, it’s such a privilege for us to be able to give back to the community and it’s really what Pride’s all about,” added Orlando Pride defender Caitlin Cosme. “We want to get involved, we want to help, and just looking at the kids’ faces says it all. They’re just so happy and almost in shock too, and that’s what makes things like this worth it.”
The event included several other activities, including a full behind-the-scenes stadium tour of the locker room and players tunnel, a dance party, bounce houses, and face-painting, among others. Rawlins is proud of the partnership the Club has forged with CITY Furniture and other local organizations who want to get involved in the Central Florida community.
“One of the great things when we bring partners on board is [thinking] how can we work together, what kinds of things can we do with partners?” Rawlins said. “It’s part of who we are, and I think it’s what makes those partnerships special, because you come together on a night like this when everyone’s having such a great time.”
It was an especially gratifying night considering the last two years, Delivering Hope was unable to happen due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The inaugural version was held in 2019.
“As a player, it makes me really proud to be a part of this Club when we get to do events like this,” said Grinwis. “It’s a special organization, and I think we as [a Club] pride ourselves on our ability to get involved in the community and partner with such great people.”