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Visit Orlando's Magical Dining Month Sets New Record
Raising $195,125 to Benefit Russell Home


ORLANDO, FL (December 13, 2016) - Through the generosity of Visit Orlando, 96 local restaurant and thousands of diners, the Russell Home for Atypical Children received a record donation of $195,125 today. Visit Orlando's Magical Dining Month sponsored by American Express generated an unprecedented contribution for a local charity that cares for special needs children and adults. Since 2009, the program has raised more than $650,000 for local charities.

"This program changes lives," said George Aguel, president and CEO of Visit Orlando. "Visit Orlando's Magical Dining Month is one the best examples of tourism coming together to help at a local level."

Visit Orlando's Magical Dining Month takes place each September, offering locals and visitors alike the opportunity to enjoy Orlando's nationally recognized culinary scene through three-course prix-fixe dinners for $33. As the charitable beneficiary, the Russell Home received $1 from every meal served.

"The restaurants and Central Florida community who participated in this year's Magical Dining Month are our heroes, along with Visit Orlando for planning and coordinating this incredible event each year," said Vantrease Blair, executive director of the Russell Home for Atypical Children. "The day we received the call that we were chosen as the beneficiary, a flood of joyful tears came to all of us. We were honored to be the charity of choice."

The Russell Home is the first non-profit institution in the country to provide a home atmosphere with a family structure for special needs children and 'child-like' adults. In continuous operation for more than 60 years without any government support, the home also provides 24 hours of free respite care and free day care for the local families with special needs dependents.

The funds raised by Magical Dining will enable the Russell Home to modify and refurbish the girl's dorm as part of the home's major renovation project. The dorm will be named after Visit Orlando and Magical Dining Month.

"Magical Dining Month has been the largest fundraising event we have ever experienced and it is life-changing for the girls who are receiving new dorm rooms and bathrooms. Words cannot express our gratitude." added Blair.


Additional information about Visit Orlando's Magical Dining Month, including a complete list of restaurants that participated, is available at