LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Aug. 20, 2015 – From kindergarteners gathering for circle time to high school students working in science labs, more than 100,000 Central Florida students will start the school year with $866,000 worth of essential school supplies donated by Disney and its Cast Members through A Gift For Teaching (AGFT).
Walt Disney World Resort teamed with AGFT to distribute backpacks, pencils, pens, composition books and other school essentials for students in Polk, Lake, Osceola, Orange and Seminole counties. In addition to donating more than 1,500 hours of VoluntEAR service collecting and sorting the supplies, Cast Members also answered phones at today’s WKMG telethon to benefit AGFT.
“Disney and its amazing Cast Members continue to wow us with their dedication to this community,” said AGFT President Jane Thompson. “As the primary provider of free school supplies to teachers for their students in need in Central Florida, these supplies are critical in ensuring that our shelves are stocked all year long.”
AGFT has provided $90 million worth of school supplies to Central Florida teachers through its Free Store since 1998. Disney also supports AGFT with financial contributions through its Disney Grants program, as well as VoluntEAR service. Last year, Cast Members donated more than 2,700 VoluntEAR hours to the organization.
As Disney’s annual Back-to-School Supply Drive kicked off last month, teachers of the year from five local counties received a special package of school supplies from Walt Disney World Ambassadors, along with Disney characters Lilo and Stitch.
“One of the most rewarding ways for our Cast Members to support education is to help Central Florida’s children prepare for a successful year of learning,” said AGFT Board Member Tracey Powell and vice president of resort operations 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.”
Walt Disney World Resort has a longstanding tradition of supporting educational initiatives in Central Florida. Since 2005, Disney Cast Members have collected and donated millions of school supplies to help local students start the school year with the tools they need for academic success.
Last year, Disney Cast Members donated more than 2.5 million back-to-school supplies and cash donations benefiting more than 70,000 local students. Cast Members also help enhance local education with a wide range of initiatives, including annual contributions to local school districts; directing grants to education nonprofits; and volunteering in classrooms throughout Central Florida.