Trailblazer of the Month – Miles to Go Charity

This month we have the honor of featuring Miles to Go Charity headquartered in Orlando Florida, read on to learn more about their journey.

What inspired the founder, a young 9-year-old boy, to start “Miles to Go”?
Can you share more about the initial conversation and moment that sparked this idea?

How we began is best described here in our 5 MINUTE MTG VIDEO 🙂

How have the ‘To-Go’ bags evolved since their inception in terms of contents and distribution methods?

Our very first batch of MTG bags were split into 2 types- male & female. We discovered quickly that a more generalized bag was going to be more impactful.  Our “female” bags evolved into a special project led by Miles’ sister which are purple bags primarily for female domestic violence victims and their children.

Can you share a story or testimonial about how the ‘To-Go’ bags have made a difference in someone’s life in the Orlando area or beyond?

Last August I met a gentleman named Hendricks.  He shared his story with me and then allowed me to record a special message from him to Miles about how his life was impacted by our bags.  Hendricks said, “I just want to say thank you so much. I have all the little notes (the You Matter cards) that you put in the bags…every time I felt alone and invisible those little notes made me feel important and that somebody cared.” Hendricks let me know in our conversation that he went years living on the streets and received many bags through our partners at The Sharing Center in Longwood.  Making people feel seen and loved is just as important, if not more, than the essentials that we put into our bags.

How do you decide on the merchandise you sell to fund the ‘To-Go’ bags? Is there a story behind the designs?

Before we started designing apparel and before the MTG Tiny Shop was a thought we were fundraising in all of the traditional ways. We had amazing support from neighbors and friends at the start but knew that asking all of the time was not sustainable.  This needed to be joyful work.  I had the idea when looking around and seeing so many graphic tees on the market.  I thought “why not wear a tshirt that gives back?? Would people be into that idea?”  We tested the notion with our first 2 designs:  Raising Good Humans & Love For All.  They did great and the apparel line grew from there!
Fun facts: Our biggest seller during Covid was: WASH YOUR HANDS.  We delivered them all over town, had serve yourself racks at our front door and of course shipped all over the US.
Our biggest seller to date is: I SAY BAD WORDS & DO GOOD THINGS.
We make everything in relatively small batches, repeating fan favorites on different garments throughout the year.

Given that the organization has zero salaried employees, how do you manage and engage volunteers in your operations?
We have a Facebook group called: Miles To Go Volunteers!, we are well connected with local schools and have many youth volunteers and are truly blessed with the best repeat volunteers year round.
What have been some of the biggest challenges and rewards of running “Miles to Go”?
Some challenges are keeping the community engaged, being able to show up in all of the places…really time.  Time and lack thereof is tough.

The work is always rewarding!  Hearing stories of people giving their bags is my favorite and is fuel for the soul!

Are there any local businesses, organizations, or community groups that “Miles to Go” partners with to achieve its mission?
YES!  Our community is so very supportive.  From Carey Sheffield donating her photography to our events, The Sharing Center giving our bags out in bulk and also having the Miles To Go Renewal Station on their campus (providing haircuts for those in need), NARPM who has chosen MTG for the 3rd year in a row as their charity of choice and giving us tons of support for our MTG5K run/walk, repeat donors like 316 Foundation & Koala Roofing… I hesitate to list any at all because there are way too many to mention and they are all so appreciated- this is just a tiny sampling!

What does it mean to the founder and the team to work on this cause? How has it impacted their view on homelessness and community service?

To help someone, to make someone feel loved…it doesn’t mean solving their biggest challenges.  I learned that doing something is valuable, even if you can’t do everything.

What are the future goals for “Miles to Go”? Are there plans for expanding the reach of the ‘To-Go’ bags or introducing new initiatives?

We have been partnering with The Sharing Center for years now and this year have also started supplying our bags to Shepherd’s Hope.  As we grow we hope to be able to grow in our partnerships and piggy back on the more complicated work that shelters and other organizations are doing. 
We also work with schools.  We would like to continue this and increase our presence.  We find that the kids really get a better understanding of what some people are doing without when they do a supply drive and we pack bags together.  Getting one’s hands on the supplies and building the bags really helps us all grow in compassion.

For people inspired by your story, what are the best ways they can support “Miles to Go”? Are there specific needs or volunteer opportunities currently available?

Out of the 14 items in our bags only 1 is provided to us at no cost.  As a Bombas Giving Partner we are entrusted with their socks (so far about 16,000 pairs!).  Other items can be donated and we hope to forge more corporate relationships so that we can count on bulk donations.  That said, even the smallest donation makes a big difference!  Our Amazon Wish List is always availbale to shop.  Of course we also accept tax deductible donations here and on our website where you can also shop.  100% of our profits, in store at 6651 Vineland Rd suite 170, Orlando and online go to our mission.
You can also support MTG by signing up for our MTG5K run/walk.  Each ticket=a bag provided to someone in need!  Volunteer opportunities coming soon for the MTG5K.
And the easiest way/no cost at all but meaningful in its own right- follow us on Instagram



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