This has been a very rough week for the Cast Members who make magic for The Walt Disney Company. Earlier this week it was announced that 28,000 of them would be laid off from Disney Parks, Experiences and Products. As the week progressed, the layoffs began. With these layoffs now a reality, thousands of Cast Members are finding themselves without a livelihood or a way to put food on the table. Thankfully, there are good people out there who want to make a difference.

Second Harvest Food Bank in California and Florida

Second Harvest Food Bank collects food that it then donates to people in need, including Disney Cast Members. At the beginning of the pandemic, Disney Parks donated food to Second Harvest Food Bank that was then given to those who needed it.

The Cast Member Pantry

Emily, a furloughed Cast Member, began The Cast Member Pantry earlier this year to help Cast Members in need towards the beginning of the furlough. As things continued to drag on, the needs have only grown. It initially began in Florida for Walt Disney World Resort Cast Members but now is being expanded to California to help Disneyland Resort Cast Members in need.

Here is what The Cast Member Pantry does:

  • Collects food and donations for food to give to Cast Member in need.
  • Creates “Fast Pass” bags of groceries that provides enough non-perishable food to feed a family of 4 for 4-5 days.
  • Distributes food on Saturdays.
  • Cast Members are allowed to come once every 30 days while furloughed or now laid off.

Here is how you can support The Cast Member Pantry:

  • Monetary donations can be made to The Cast Member Pantry via Venmo at @castmemberpantry.
  • Donations can also be given via Amazon with this Amazon Wish List. This is the quickest way to donate.

Cast Members who are looking for assistance can email [email protected] and will receive an automated response with the next steps. This will include a link to registration and then the setting up of an appointment time. More information and updates can be found on The Cast Member Pantry Facebook group. Continue to check back at the Facebook page as details are being updated in the coming days about how The Cast Member Pantry will be getting up and running in Anaheim for Disneyland Cast Members.

Support Small Businesses Run by Cast Members

Many Cast Members also have small businesses that they run. Now, more than ever, take a minute to seek them out and support them. Many can be found on social media or Etsy. What may seem like a simple or small purchase to you can provide both financial help but also provide a needed win for those who are struggling during this difficult time. DAPS MAGIC will be showcasing some of these businesses on our Instagram.

Listen to Cast Members

This is a very difficult time for people as some people lose their jobs that they were so passionate about and others lose beloved co-workers. It is very easy to want to go in and “fix” things for those who are struggling. However, take a moment to stop and listen to people as they grieve and process emotions. Sometimes the biggest gift isn’t offering to do something but instead just listening and being there for people. Show you care by actively listening and offering words of support. If they want/need more support, they will tell you. Then, act accordingly.

Donate to Individuals

If you are comfortable with it, donate a dinner, groceries, or even just money to individual Cast Members you know that are laid off. This is a difficult time because not only are they now finding themselves without a job, they are doing it while we are still in the midst of a pandemic. This creates an environment where people feel even more alone. Offer support in whatever way you can in this environment. This might be utilizing Venmo, DoorDash, InstaCart, UberEats, or other ways of giving food or money in a socially distant way that is safe.

Right now is a very difficult time for the Disney family at large. The support of all of us is greatly needed. Take a moment to think about how you can support those in need today and help those who are struggling. The smallest gesture might make the biggest difference in someone’s life!

DAPS MAGIC will continue to follow this story and provide more updates and ideas for how to support Cast Members as they become available.