The U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for All National Directorate paid a special visit to meet with Disney VoluntEARS on December 18 as they prepared to greet hundreds of needy families who lined up their cars. on a hot Orlando morning in front of a toy distribution center. The surprise visit was planned to allow the Foundation’s management to officially recognize Disney’s enduring support for Toys for All, which dates back to the beginnings of the iconic nonprofit.
Toys for All began in 1947 in Hollywood as the brainchild of Marine Corps Reserve Major Bill Hendricks and his wife Diane. Major Hendricks, an executive in the entertainment industry, was a friend of many celebrities he approached to help support the newly created Marine Toys for All program. As a personal friend, Walt Disney designed the first Toys for All poster that included a miniature three-car train that was later adopted as the Toys for All logo that is still used today.
In recognition of this decade-long relationship, retired Marine General Jim Laster, president and CEO of the Marine Toys for All Foundation, and members of his leadership team joined Mickey Mouse in thanking members of the Disney cast. during a special recognition ceremony held inside the distribution warehouse.
“Disney has been the longest and most loyal supporter of our foundation for over 70 years,” said Lt. Gen. Laster. “Our foundation is based on a Marine’s dream to make a difference for families in need during the holidays and the unwavering support we received from legends like Walt Disney and the company he founded.”
Continued support for the Marine Toys for All Foundation has been part of Disney’s legacy of support for the United States military since the early days of The Walt Disney Company. And in gratitude for the incredible work that Toys for All has done for families across the country and in Central Florida, members of the Disney SALUTE veterans affinity group introduced Lieutenant General Laster and his team the military health challenge coins that are offered in recognition of a job well done.
This year, Disney’s long relationship with Toys for All continued with the Disney Ultimate Toy Drive, which now runs through December 24 on shopDisney.com. The company started the Disney Ultimate Toy Drive with a $ 500,000 donation to Toys for All to help provide toys for children and inspire hope where these holidays are most needed. As part of this donation, $ 50,000 directly supported efforts for the Central Florida community. This year, more than 10,000 toys have been donated to the Walt Disney World Resort, marking the difference for children and families in Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties.
Walt Disney World Resort has supported driving 2021 in many ways, including in-person donation mailboxes at Disney Springs, behind-the-scenes locations, and special drive events throughout the unit. Hundreds of Disney VoluntEARS have also helped take turns sorting and distributing donated toys to local Toys for All stores over the past few weeks, collectively donating more than 2,000 hours.
Many of the volunteers who worked during the Toys for All Foundation leadership visit were members of Disney’s SALUTE Veterans Affinity Group.
“It was a great day to support Toys for All and help make this time of year special for everyone in our Central Florida community,” said Lisa Arney, senior manager of Disney Signature Experiences Communications. and veteran of U.S. Army reserves. “I am thrilled to have been able to share this experience with my daughters who were able to see first hand the benefits of volunteering and its positive impact on our community.”
These efforts are among the many ways Walt Disney World Resort is returning to the community, joining the recent $ 3 million in grants to major community causes made in honor of the 50th anniversary.th Birthday celebration.