Disney has a long history of giving back through the community. This is done in multiple different ways, including through the Disney VoluntEARS program which is celebrating its 40th anniversary. This Thanksgiving, Disney is feeding communities in need around the globe in multiple different ways. From Disneyland and beyond, Disney is making helping those who may would struggle to eat this holiday season be fed and cared for.
Food is a big part of the Disney experience. Along with working with local organizations to provide free culinary training programs and materials to students to help them increase their access in the food industries, Disney also supports multiple nonprofit organizations like Second Harvest Food Bank. In 2023 along, Disney worked around the globe to give back to the community. This included different contributions ranging from donating food to packing Thanksgiving meals at local food banks to hosting a Thanksgiving meal for Floridians in need that is cooked by Walt Disney World Resort chefs.
Below is a look at how Disney is making a difference around the globe.
Starting at Disneyland, Disney VoluntEARS are donating their time and energy to support several local nonprofits to provide food to those in need. In the coming week alone, they will be helping in the following ways:
- November 18 – Disneyland Resort will be bringing together more than 250 VoluntEARS and their families to participate in an annual food packing event to support families in need through the OC Food Bank. This will be part of the celebration of Family Volunteer Day.
- November 20 – 22 – Disney VoluntEARS will be participating in projects to support the local community ahead of Thanksgiving with the SoCal nonprofit organization We Give Thanks.
- November 23 – For Thanksgiving day itself, Disney VoluntEARS will continue to support We Give Thanks at the Honda Center to provide Thanksgiving meals to the community.
Walt Disney World Resort
Walt Disney World Resort is also working hard to support the local community during the Thanksgiving season as well. “Giving is who we are as part of the Disney family,” said Chef Gregg Hannon, culinary director at Walt Disney World. “We believe that everything we do to make magic can also make a difference, which is what I see happening when we provide Thanksgiving meals to those in need in our Central Florida community. Gratitude is something that we all have in common on Thanksgiving. As a culinarian working at Disney for 26 years, I am extremely proud to work for a company and be part of a team that gives back in such an important way.” Here are some of the ways Walt Disney World is supporting the local community.
- November 11-19 – Walt Disney World cast members and their families were a part of the CANstruction Orlando event. With this, they created an 8-foot recreation of Orange Bird. This was done with 11,000 cans of food. The cans of food will be donated to Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. This recreation of Orange Bird will be on display in ICON Park on I-Drive from November 11-19 for public voting.
- November 14-18 – Disney VoluntEARS work together with organizations like Heart of Florida United Way to pack and then distribute thousands of meal kits for families in Orange, Osceola, and Seminole counties.
- November 23 – The culinary team at Walt Disney World Resort will be again cooking up to 1,000 Thanksgiving meals for residents at the Coalition for Homeless of Central Florida and also Harbor House of Central Florida. This is an organization that helps pull people to safety and hope from domestic abuse. Disney VoluntEARS will be serving those meals to residents on Thanksgiving Day. This is a tradition that has continued for 25 years. This year, the celebration is being extended by Walt Disney World with the Coalition for the Homeless as families from the Youth Center are being invited to a special screening of Disney’s Wish ahead of its world debut.
Disney Signature Experiences
Disney Signature Experiences is also supporting local communities in multiple ways. These efforts can be found in many different places where the Disney Cruise Line or Disney Vacation Club regularly makes magic for guests. They also make magic for the local community through their support of nonprofit organizations.
- November – Throughout the month of November, Disney Cruise Line is investing in the Bahamas Feeding Network’s efforts to feed families in Nassau, Abaco, and Eleuthera during this holiday season.
- November-December – Disney Cruise Line members will VoluntEARS at Kitchens for Good in San Diego (11/29), Children’s Hunger Network in Brevard County, FL (12/8), and also the Galveston Food Bank in Texas (12/21).
- November-December – Disney Vacation Club cast members collected and donated nearly 500 food items to the Deep Well Project which will be distributed to families on Hilton Head Island.
Disneyland Paris is also supporting the local community during this holiday season. Throughout the months of November and December, Disneyland Paris is donating food to local charities every week. This is a continuation to its year-long food donation program.
Hong Kong Disneyland Resort
On September 26, nearly 300 Disney VoluntEARS from Hong Kong Disneyland Resort partnered with Rise Against Hunger. Together they packed over 86,000 food packets and then donated them to the local community during the holiday season.
Shanghai Disney Resort
Starting in October, Shanghai Disney Resort donated non-perishable food as part of efforts to reduce food waste and also leverage the high quality surplus food on hand to bring Disney magic to community members in need.
Whether it is food that is donated or volunteer time, giving is central to what Disney does. Throughout the year, Disney gives back to the community through many different ways including wish granting, character visits, donations to children’s hospitals, charitable giving, investing in youth, workforce development programs to support the next generation, conservation, sustainability, and many other ways. All of Disney’s efforts to support the community can be found at DisneyConnect.com.
What do you think of Disney’s efforts to support local communities during Thanksgiving and the holidays? How are you helping your local community during this special time of year that can also be a stressful time of year for those in need? Share your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!