With a mission to “spread love one bag at a time,” 10-year-old Miles Newbold of Windermere inspired his family to form Miles To Go Charities to help support Central Florida’s homeless population.
When Miles Newbold (age 10) observed a person asking for cash at red light, he asked his mom, Danielle, some tough questions. After an honest conversation about homelessness in the Orlando area, Miles knew he wanted to help. That’s when he came up with the idea to give special bags filled with useful items to help make the day a little easier for individuals in need.
With the help of his family and volunteers, Miles stuffs drawstring backpacks with items like toothpaste, hand sanitizer, sunscreen, snack bars and other items. “I can pack a bag really fast,” says Miles. Miles thinks carefully about the needs of the people receiving the bags. When Florida’s rainy season kicked in, Miles thought including a rain poncho in each bag would be helpful. He explains, “I didn’t feel good that they [homeless individuals] have to sit outside in the rain.”
Once the bags are packed, Miles and his crew distribute the bags at various locations throughout Orlando. Lake Eola is a site that he visits frequently, and sometimes he sees the people he’s given bags to in the past.
[mks_pullquote align=”left” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#81d742″ txt_color=”#ffffff”]“We bring cold waters and a bunch of Miles To Go bags, and we hand them out to people. One guy has a little dog that’s really cute,” says Miles.[/mks_pullquote]
Since Miles came up with his idea in early 2018, the project has become an official charitable organization with 501(c)(3) status. To date, Miles To Go Charities has distributed approximately 425 bags to individuals throughout the Orlando area.
To broaden its reach, Miles To Go also partners with other local organizations to help support the communities those organizations serve. Recently, Miles To Go distributed 65 bags to the Covenant House of Orlando, which supports young adults ages 18–21. Miles To Go also developed a special edition of its bags called Violet Miles To Go for the Harbor House of Central Florida, which supports individuals affected by domestic violence. In addition to the standard items, these special purple bags, named for Miles’ sister, Violet (age 7), include feminine hygiene products, hair ties and small stuffed animals.
Danielle and Miles recently received big news: Bombas Socks, a company that donates one pair of socks for every pair of socks sold, approved Miles To Go Charities as a giving partner. Bombas Socks has donated over 8 million pairs of socks to charitable organizations, including donating 250 pairs of socks to Miles To Go.
Miles depends on volunteers of all ages to help support his mission. Even the littlest volunteers, like Miles’ brother, Reed (age 5), can help pack Miles To Go bags. Says Danielle, “It’s important to me to welcome any children into that process. There are not many charities that welcome little ones, and this is something that they can easily do.”
To volunteer, donate or participate in an event, visit milestogocharities.org.