Monday, November 30, 2009

VoluntEars Spread Holiday Cheer

The Walt Disney Company has always been one to participate in charities and help those that are less fortunate. When you’re visiting the Orlando theme parks you see the smiling faces of cast members and realize Walt Disney World really is the happiest place on Earth. There are a lot of fortunate people that get to go to the Disney theme parks throughout the year, but there are people that never get to travel, let alone have a safe place they can call their own.

Homelessness is affecting the United States like never before, especially with the economic recession that we have been undergoing. People have lost their jobs and even their homes because of layoffs and other reasons—but the Walt Disney Company would never ignore the less fortunate. Over Thanksgiving, chefs from various Disney resorts came together with the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida to prepare meals for over 600 people. These people, which includes families, women, children and men, were all fed a traditional Thanksgiving dinner prepared by Disney chefs. Chef Tony Marotta oversaw the entire project.

Monthly, the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida prepares about 750 meals for the homeless in the area, but for the special Thanksgiving day feast, the chefs had to start two days in advance. It was a lot of hard work, but important work, as Disney firmly believes in the idea of VoluntEars and helping the community.

“When you see homelessness in the media, you are moved to humility and compassion, but when you see homelessness in person, you are moved to action,” said Trevor Larsen, WDW vice president of engineering services and manufacturing, who serves on the Coalition board. “There are plenty of ways people can help. Come meet these adults and children in need and get involved.”

If you want to get into the giving spirit, you can always volunteer at a homeless shelter or other charity foundation yourself. Don’t forget Disney is doing the Give a Day Get a Day program! If you volunteer and sign up on the website, all you need is proof of your day of service to get a free admission into the Magic Kingdom or any other Disney theme park!


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