The winter holidays are typically the toughest times for food banks and this year the demand is higher than ever. So it’s great to see Walt Disney World and its cast step up to make a big donation and a pledge of continued support to one of the great food banks here in Central Florida. Yesterday, Minnie Mouse joined Disney VoluntEARS to deliver bushels of green to Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida in the form of a $500,000 gift for the organization’s expansion. Disney also pledged 20,000 pounds of fresh produce during the next year as part of the commitment.
The gift was part of Disney’s efforts to support organizations and programs that make a positive impact on children in the local community and will fund Second Harvest’s “Building Solutions to Hunger” capital campaign. The cash contribution will help the organization build a larger facility so it can accept and distribute significantly more food and reach more Central Floridians in need.
“We’re confident the new facility will help Second Harvest reach even more neighbors in need,” said Nancy Gidusko, director of community relations for Walt Disney World Resort. “Our goal is to help bring an end to hunger in this community, and we are proud to join with other generous donors to bring this new facility to life,”
According to Second Harvest, the need for additional space at the organization’s headquarters is critical in reaching more children who are hungry in the community.
“The harsh reality is that the demand for our services continues to grow, and our infrastructure must grow with it,” said Dave Krepcho president and CEO of Second Harvest. “Capacity is king in the world of hunger relief, and a new facility will provide the ability to more than double our current distribution over the next 10-15 years. The gift from Walt Disney World Resort will directly help many thousands of Central Floridians.”
Second Harvest Food Bank will more than triple its cooler and freezer capacities in the new building, enabling the organization to accept and deliver thousands of pounds of additional food when then facility opens.
One way in which Second Harvest collects food for donation is the Disney Harvest program, in which excess prepared and unserved food from locations throughout Walt Disney World Resort are collected and delivered to the food bank five days a week. Since 1991, Walt Disney World Resort has donated several million pounds of food to the Second Harvest Food Bank as part of this program.
The food donated from Walt Disney World Resort feeds more than 1,000 local kids a week at more than 60 nonprofit organizations located in Central Florida, including homeless shelters, soup kitchens, after-school centers and day care centers for children and seniors.
By serving as the food bank’s pilot 20 years ago, Walt Disney World Resort helped establish the prepared and perishable food program at Second Harvest.
Earlier this year, Walt Disney World awarded a $50,000 Disney Helping Kids Shine grant to Second Harvest. The organization is one of many local groups Walt Disney World supports through the outreach efforts of Disney VoluntEARS, collaboration with local community leaders and millions of dollars in cash and in-kind support to local organizations. In 2010, Walt Disney World Resort donated $28 million in cash and in-kind support and provided 228,000 hours of volunteer service from Disney VoluntEARS.