From its early roots, the Walt Disney Company has had a compassionate heart. Take a few moments to watch the 1932 short, Mickey’s Good Deed, and you’ll understand Walt’s selfless generosity. In this wonderful tale, Mickey Mouse portrays a fellow down on his luck, playing Christmas carols on the street corner for change. To his and Pluto’s dismay, passersby do not give money at all, but nuts and bolts and useless junk. Soon Mickey’s instrument—his source of income—gets destroyed by a passing sleigh. When he sees a poverty-stricken house full of children with no presents, instead of pitying his own misfortune, Mickey sells his beloved pal Pluto to a wealthy man and uses all the money to purchase gifts for the kids. He delivers them incognito while they sleep, thus giving the children the gift of dreams come true.
Today the Walt Disney Company continues to devote both funding and services to various organizations and people in need. Magical Mouse Schoolhouse has discussed Walt Disney World Resort’s food donations to the Disney Harvest Food Program, as well as their VoluntEAR partnership with Toys for Tots, and soap recycling through Clean the World. The Resort also assists a very special organization that helps ill children and their families receive their wish to visit the Parks.
Give Kids the World (GKTW) was created by hotelier Henri Landwirth in 1986 to “provide memorable, magical, cost-free experiences to children with life-threatening illnesses and their families.” He partnered with colleagues in the hospitality industry, including the Walt Disney World Resort (who donates all Park tickets, whose Cast Members VoluntEAR, whose Imagineers have designed parts of the facility, and whose Resorts host families when GKTW’s Village is overflowing) to bring these families to Florida, house them, feed them, and let them live out a dream.
There are many ways you can help too! If you live nearby or are planning a visit to Walt Disney World, please contact GKTW either via email at email@example.com or by calling (800) 995-KIDS to see how you can donate your time to benefit an ill child and his or her family.
If you are not or will not be in the area, GKTW needs you too! Did you know that a simple $25 donation will cover unlimited ice cream service for one child and his or her family for their entire week-long stay? $50 provides a welcome basket; $75 enables the Gift-giving Fairy to deliver gifts to each child in the family every day of their stay; $100 brings Christmas (with Santa AND snow) to Florida every Thursday!
Here are some creative ways others are helping out:
- My generous blog sponsor, 3D Travel Company, donates a portion of their profits to Give Kids the World, and anyone who books a Disney vacation through their agency has the opportunity to donate money or volunteer time as well. The company is currently working to sponsor an ice cream social for program children and their families.
- The Disneyschooling Orlando homeschool group recently spent time decorating one of the GKTW villas. A group member told me about a very specific year-round need: pillowcases! Email jodi(at)chipandcompany(dot)com if you’d like the specific sewing instructions.
- The Disney Fans Give Kids the World Fundraiser is trying to raise $15,000 in donations by September 19, 2012. They’ve raised just over $3,000 so far, but there’s plenty of time left to help out. You can help them reach their goal by making a donation through their FirstGiving collection page. All donations are tax deductible, and a $10 gift will enter you in one of the group’s awesome giveaways (as if you need incentive to help out GKTW!).
Fundraising, grants, memorials and tributes, and more options are available as well. Visit this page to learn how you can get involved, or contact Amanda Rayno at AmandaR@gktw.org or 407-396-1114 ext. 4252. Together we can give kids the World!
- More Than 300 Veterans Participate in Disney Career Expo as Part of Heroes Work Here Program (chipandco.com)
- Face Painting at Walt Disney World (chipandco.com)