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Disney Cruise Line Extends Disaster Relief Efforts in the Bahamas

Castaway Cay really does look this amazing

The island nation of The Bahamas are not just one of the United States’ closest neighbors, they’re part of the Disney family. The Disney Cruise line not only recruits heavily from its population, they have two private islands there for their ships to visit and plan frequent vacation adventures to its ports of call. So when the northern portions of The Bahamas was devastated by Hurricane Dorian, the Walt Disney Company stepped in with a pledge to contribute more than $1 million in support of relief and recovery efforts.

In addition to its initial efforts right after the storm, Disney recently announced it has teamed up with three leading disaster relief and recovery organizations – the American Red Cross, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and All Hands and Hearts.

“We know the road to recovery is long and difficult for many people in The Bahamas, and we remain committed to helping them put their lives back together,” said Jeff Vahle, president of Disney Cruise Line. “From providing food and supplies, to supporting children and rebuilding schools, the collective efforts of these agencies should bring much-needed relief to our friends and neighbors in the islands.”

The American Red Cross continues to provide critical aid to those recovering in The Bahamas. Disney has provided $250,000 to support the organization’s on-the-ground relief efforts, including the delivery of food staples and basic construction materials. Disney has also encouraged its employees to contribute financially to the American Red Cross to help further support these immediate needs. Eligible employees’ donations were matched through the Disney Employee Matching Gifts program, dollar for dollar.

Hurricane Dorian forced thousands of residents to evacuate the island. One of the biggest priorities has been for children to return to school. Disney Cruise Line has a long history of supporting education efforts throughout The Bahamas and recognizes how important schooling is for children. Disney gave $250,000 in support of UNICEF’s efforts to help provide lifesaving supplies and psychosocial support for affected children and adolescents. In partnership with The Bahamas Ministry of Education, UNICEF is working to register approximately 10,000 displaced students in schools. Registered students will receive medical screenings, uniform and lunch assistance, referrals for counseling services and free bus transportation for social, sporting and extra-curricular activities.

Over the last few months, Disney Cruise Line Cast and Crew Members have worked to provide immediate short-term relief to those impacted. Disney Cruise Line Cast Members assembled more than 1,500 Clean the World personal hygiene kits. Clean the World is a global health organization committed to providing sustainable resources, programming and education focused on water, sanitation and hygiene for those impacted by natural disasters, poverty and homelessness. The Disney Dream delivered these kits to Nassau where they were distributed to shelters for hurricane evacuees from Abaco and Grand Bahama.

Disney also donated food, water, medical supplies, cleaning supplies, generators and construction materials, which the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy delivered to points in Nassau and the Abaco Islands – as well as supplies that others have helped deliver to Grand Bahama. Additionally, Disney Cruise Line is supporting its Bahamian-based Crew Members who live in impacted areas. So far, Disney has provided an additional $500,000 in supplies and direct aid to affected employees.

Additionally, as the community focuses on the long term plans for rebuilding, Disney has provided $500,000 to All Hands and Hearts to support the rebuilding of community schools in Abaco, home to many Bahamian-based Disney Cruise Line Crew Members. All Hands and Hearts is a volunteer-powered disaster relief organization that addresses the immediate and long-term needs of communities impacted by natural disasters.

We’re pleased to see Disney and the team at Disney Cruise Line provide this update to how it is supporting recovery efforts in The Bahamas. Just another great reason to be a Disney fan.