It’s back to school time, and Disney’s VoluntEARS program has teamed up with the nonprofit organization “A Gift For Teaching” to help provide school supplies to students in need. VoluntEARS is a charitable organization made up of Disney cast members who donate their time to helping charities and service organizations in their communities around the world. It is part of the Disney Worldwide Outreach Program. Together they have helped in 200 cities, 47 states, and 24 countries over the past 30 years.
This time they are focusing on the home front, running a back-to-school drive for students in Central Florida. Cast members have collected all sorts of school supplies, from dry erase markers to notebooks, as part of the month-long drive. This will, in turn, benefit students in need as well as teachers who spend a large portion of their own money to supply their classrooms.
“They will benefit public schools in a five-county area beyond Orange County,” said Jane Thompson, president of A Gift for Teaching. Thompson went on to say more than 70% of public schools in Orange and Osceola counties are considered high need, with many families unable to afford supplies for their children.
Teachers will be able to “shop” free of charge at the “A Gift For Teaching” store for these supplies in order to make sure students have what they need this year. “We are a free store for teachers. Our community believes investing in your ability to make your students successful in the classroom,” Thompson said.
Thompson explained that the number of families who cannot afford or will face difficulty affording school supplies is higher than ever as a result of the pandemic and inflation. “We’ve all heard the stories about the National Retail Federation talking about the new average cost that families can expect to spend, which is just shocking, you know, and I think it’s very daunting for families who are still recovering,” Thompson said.
This is just one of the many ways Cast Members give back to their community. In turn, a beautiful circle of giving is created in which communities come together to support one another. Just recently, we reported that the community had come together to donate to a food bank that benefits Cast Members. That is what Disney magic is all about, people helping people.