Walt Disney World Continues to Support the Local Community During the COVID-19 Pandemic

With so many families and neighbors remaining courageous despite impacts from COVID-19, the Walt Disney World Resort feels inspired to continue supporting the local community in every possible way. From donations of excess food to providing supplies and support for healthcare workers and first responders, here is a look at some of the many actions recently taking place – thanks to a dedicated teams of essential Cast Members facilitating these donations across Central Florida and beyond:

Food Donations

Since 1991, the Walt Disney World Resort has donated unused food to support more than 40 Orlando-area nonprofits through the Disney Harvest program. At the start of the temporary closure of the resort, seven truckloads of food including fresh fruits, salads, rice, meat, canned foods and more were collected and delivered to Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. These deliveries have continued for three weeks, with more than 646,000 pounds of food donated to provide 538,600 meals across Central Florida.

The impact of this donation was widespread and also helped to support food banks in Jacksonville and Ocala. Walt Disney World also continues to provide meals twice a month to families staying at the Coalitions for the Homeless, as part of an ongoing program. Food and Beverage Cast Members pack boxed meals for delivery, providing an additional 1,800 meals during this unprecedented time to people in need.

Face Masks and Medical-Related Supplies

Face masks and medical-related items continue to be sought after, as first responders, nurses, and humanitarian groups work to contain the COVID-19 virus. Cast Members facilitated the donation of 35,000 N95 face masks to the Florida Division of Emergency Management, and have also provided 1,800 N95 masks, 160 boxes of gloves and 600 bottles of hand sanitizers to organizations like the Coalition for the Homeless in Central Florida working to protect at risk populations.

Fabric for Face Masks

With reusable face masks still needed across Central Florida, organizations like the Hope Center in Clermont, Florida have been donating time to sew cloth masks for emergency management professionals. Walt Disney World donated 605 yards of cotton fabric and more than 3,000 yards of elastic to support these efforts and provide resources for keeping medical professionals safe as they serve the broader community.

Rain Ponchos

Responding to requests from hospitals in need of additional protective garments, Disney Parks donated 150,000 rain ponchos to MedShare, a humanitarian organization, to provide to hospitals in need. The idea was inspired by nurses across the country who inventively found that rain ponchos can be an excellent way to protect clothing and prolong the use of Personal Protective Equipment, while also freeing up gowns when needed. An additional 25,000 ponchos were delivered to hospitals and humanitarian organizations across our Central Florida community, helping to protect medical heroes on the front lines of treating patients impacted by COVID-19.

runDisney Donations

When Star Wars Rival Run Weekend was cancelled, the runDisney team was already well into the final planning stages for the multiday event. Not wanting anything to go to waste and looking to help others, Cast Members worked to donate more than 12,800 meal boxes to feeding programs near the Atlanta, GA facility where they were being prepared – while also donating 58,000 event t-shirts, including sizes for every member of the family, to support underserved communities near the shirt vendor in Maryland.

Flowers for Seniors

Horticulture Cast Members helped make extra special deliveries for local seniors, donating 200 Easter lilies to the Osceola Council On Aging’s Meals on Wheels program. While originally grown to decorate Walt Disney World's theme parks and resorts, the flowers were given new life to brighten days for senior citizens social distancing at home. As one of the first flowers to bloom each spring after winter, the lilies provided a symbolic reminder that – even in this uncertain time – life and hope continue to bloom and grow across Central Florida.

Disney Snacks, Treats, and Candy

More than 87,000 cookies, treats and snacks have been delivered in recent days to medical heroes, hospital personnel, police officers and first responders across Central Florida. Comprised of some of the most popular items from Walt Disney World shelves – including character cookies, popcorn, and Mickey-shapes treats – the deliveries were designed to brighten the days and send a huge thank you to all of the individuals working around the clock to keep our communities safe in this time of need.

All of these donations would not be possible without the dedicated teams at Walt Disney World Distribution Services responsible for collecting and delivering these items, often before the rest of the world has even gotten out of bed for breakfast. Their efforts and those of other essential Cast Members identifying and supporting donations continue to make a big difference to the recipient organizations and individuals.
Looking to plan and book an Orlando-area vacation? Contact Destinations with Character Travel Services, LLC., specialists in all things Orlando, including Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, and SeaWorld! Destinations with Characters is a Disney EarMarked agency and the official travel agency of Orlando Theme Park News!

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