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Disney and its Cast Members donate 2.5 million back-to-school supplies in Central Florida


Summer break is winding down and teachers from across Central Florida are preparing to receive a fresh crop of eager young students for the year. For the eleventh time since 2003, Mickey Mouse and VoluntEARS from Walt Disney World Resort are helping kids and teachers get off to a great start with donated school supplies and some much needed cash.

Yesterday, Disney VoluntEARS visited A Gift For Teaching (AGFT) to stock shelves and assist as the nonprofit opened its Free Store to Orange County teachers for their first day of shopping. The event was the culmination of Disney Cast Members’ annual back-to-school supply drive, which included more than 2,000 hours of collecting, sorting and helping distribute supplies such as paper, pencils, composition books and markers. All in All over 2.5 million back-to-school supplies and cash donations will benefit more than 70,000 local students.

“Our Cast Members support education in a variety of ways, but one of the most rewarding is helping Central Florida’s children get ready for a successful year of learning,” said Nancy Gidusko, director of corporate citizenship for Walt Disney World Resort. “For more than a decade, our back-to-school supply drive has been a fun way to help local families, while making an investment in our community’s future.”

This year, Disney VoluntEARS have teamed with AGFT to distribute school supplies to children in Polk, Lake, Osceola, Orange and Seminole counties. Besides school supplies, Disney Cast Members contributed cash donations, which may be matched through the company’s Matching Grants Program. For every dollar AGFT receives, it can provide up to $10 in school supplies. To further demonstrate their support for the organization, Disney Cast Members created a colorful new Mickey Mouse mural for its newly renovated Free Store for teachers.

“We appreciate Disney Cast Members’ efforts to boost our schools’ resources and provide the needed supplies to help students succeed,” said Jane Thompson, president of AGFT. “With their generous donations and hours of service, Disney VoluntEARS have made a positive difference for students throughout Central Florida.”

Cast Members, have you ever participated in the VoluntEARs Program? Tell us about your experience below: