For Chelena and Michael, owners of the newest foodie hotspot in town, Chick’nCone Winter Park, giving back to the community isn’t just in their business plan, it’s in their roots. Together their careers span over 20 years in the nonprofit sector. Back in New York, Michael was the Executive Director for a local nonprofit focused on youth, and Chelena worked with agencies focused on a range of issues, including mental health, food insecurity, and substance abuse. “Although we’ve decided to switch gears and apply our skills to opening a restaurant,” explained Michael, “we still continue to see our business through a nonprofit lens. And we’re committed to that.”
New in town, Chelena and Michael were looking for an organization to partner with Chick’nCone. They found out about JFS Orlando and knew it would be a great match. “It was important for us to try to find an organization that appealed to our core belief of always giving back to the community,” said Chelena. “If your community is suffering from the lack of food, then the community as a whole is suffering. We’re one community, one people, and it’s important that we all take care of each other.” She explained how she thinks the best way to do that is by addressing the most vital needs of the community.
“That’s why Jewish Family Services appeals to us, because of their wide range of services, from food to mental health to simply making families more stable.”
Chick’nCone Winter Park owners, Chelena Hopkins & Michael J. Vaz
Chelena and Michael were recently nominated by the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce for their emerging community leaders award, and it’s clear why. They understand how it’s everyone’s responsibility, individuals and businesses alike, to take care of our community. “I think no matter how big or small a business you are,” shared Michael, “there is no excuse for why we cannot help each other. Whatever resources that we can assist and provide, we want to continue to do that. Whether you can donate $5 or $5,000, every little bit helps in moving our community forward, especially those who are vulnerable.”
A family-owned business, Chick’nCone features a “fork free” spin on the classic Southern favorite, chicken & waffles. Recipes include crispy, juicy chicken, homemade waffle cones, and sauces from sweet to savory to spicy. You couldn’t ask for a more Instagrammable meal (or afternoon snack)! #SoCluckinGood
Chick’nCone Winter Park is located at the Center of Winter Park shopping mall (501 N Orlando Avenue) and will open on April 30, 2022.
Thank you, Chick’nCone, for your recent donation to JFS Orlando and for providing our clients with generous gift coupons to your restaurant! These will directly help those who come to JFS seeking help, especially those struggling with food insecurity.