Disney VoluntEARS Celebrate Teachers at A Gift for Teaching Shopping Event, Donate 2.5 Million Back-to-School Supplies

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    ORLANDO, Fla., Aug. 8, 2014 – As teachers across Central Florida prepare to ring the bell opening a new school year, Mickey Mouse and VoluntEARS from Walt Disney World Resort provided a ringing endorsement for the community’s educators today – 2.5 million back-to-school supplies and cash donations benefiting more than 70,000 local students.

    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 DisneyCast 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.

    “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.”

    Since 2003, Disney Cast Members’ back-to-school donations have been part of Disney’s tradition of supporting local students from early learning through college. Cast Members support education with a wide range of initiatives, including annual contributions to local school districts, grants to education nonprofits, individual recognition of outstanding students through the Disney Dreamers and Doers program and volunteerism in classrooms throughout Central Florida.