LAKELAND, Fla. — The homeless community in Lakeland was in for a real treat Sunday morning at the Dream Center of Lakeland.
- "I Believe in Miracles" Homeless Banquet and Concert held in Tampa since 2007
- Attendees enjoyed free meal, makeover, gifts donated by community
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Paulette Rolle-Alesnik has organized and hosted the "I Believe in Miracles" Homeless Banquet and Concert since 2007, but she typically held it in Tampa.
This year, she brought the event to The Dream Center, decorating the facility to make the day extra special for people who have fallen on hard times.
"My family in the Bahamas, we're raised to feed people, to love people, to give to those who don't have, so that's my solid inspiration,” explained Rolle-Alesnik.
The event isn't just a free meal for the homeless, though. From haircuts to facials and makeovers, the event was designed to lift the spirits of the less fortunate, like Cheryl Ramsay Regis, whose failing health along with a bad car accident forced her and her son, who is deaf, to live in a car.
"It makes me feel like a person again," Regis told us, speaking about the event. "Sometimes when things go wrong it's easy to feel like you don’t exist and people don’t pay attention to you.”
Another attendee, Loretta White, said she hadn't had a facial in nearly 40 years.
"The barbershop, I didn't have no hair up here and look how he did my eyebrows," she said. "The barbershop people and Mary Kay — I also want to thank Mary Kay for the makeup, for the makeover."
Attendees also received gifts, courtesy of donations from the community.
"This is not cheap stuff," Rolle-Alesnik said. "If you and I bought this, $40-$50, literally we have $2,000 to $3,000 of Mary Kay product between here and that room there. We don’t go cheap."
She added that none of it would have been possible without the help of 40 volunteers and local business owners who donated their time and products, including Phade Phanatix, My Touch Barbershop, and local representatives from Mary Kay.
Rolle-Alesnik hopes to now have the banquet in Lakeland for the homeless every year.