Everyday Hero: Cancer survivor gives back by helping homeless kids

By Stephanie Bechara, Reporter
Last Updated: Monday, October 09, 2017, 7:01 AM EDT

The number of homeless children is an issue in Osceola County, something that Mickie Starlard finds disheartening.

  • Mickie Starlard works for Osceola County Food Angels
  • Organization helps children who are homeless

In 2012, Starlard was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, cancer of the blood.

She says the community came together for her then, and now she could not think of a better way to say thank you than by feeding the kids of Osceola County.

“How do you go from stage 3 cancer to being cancer free in less than a year? So, I knew that was a blessing. I knew I had to give back and it couldn't be something tiny. I had to give back in a major way,” said Starlard, co-president of the Osceola County Food Angels.

And that is why she started the Osceola County Food Angels. Starlard and other volunteers get together to box up non-perishable items and provide them to students in need. They assemble more than 1,000 cases a year.

Plaza del Sol has been gracious enough to lend them a space they can work out of and store food.

“It’s all about a community effort, a collaborative effort. Without the help of each other, this couldn't be possible. We are just more than thankful for everyone that's been doing everything they can to help us out,” said Starlard. “The Osceola County School District says they have more than 3,000 homeless students that live in hotels, cars or the woods and that is a self-reported number.”

“These kids need us and we’re here for the long run,” said Tamara Ault, co-president of the Osceola County Food Angels.

These volunteers say that Starlard is the engine that keeps them running.

“Since I met Mickie she is the most positive person I have ever met. She is like so amazing. She is never down. Whatever is going on in her life she turns it around and it’s so positive,” Evon Hofmann, another co-president.

Starlard says she is just grateful to be alive and have the opportunity to give back.

“I am here. I am here. That’s my reward. I am here. I mean the feeling of giving back to somebody. That’s it,” she said.