The surprise donation was announced during the annual Community Candlelight Processional performance at Epcot.
Beneath the starry sky and against the idyllic backdrop of a holiday-adorned Epcot, Walt Disney World Resort announced a $50,000 donation to Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida during its annual Community Candlelight Processional performance.
“Following a very active hurricane season, Second Harvest continues to be at the forefront of feeding families in need throughout our region,” said George A. Kalogridis, president of Walt Disney World Resort. “It is our privilege to make this gift on behalf of all our Central Florida Cast Members to help make the holiday season a bit brighter for many families.”
The Candlelight Processional is a beloved holiday favorite of Walt Disney World Resort that brings in talented celebrity narrators. On Dec. 3, a decades-long tradition continued as hundreds of community leaders gathered for a special performance of the show. But before narrator Whoopi Goldberg delivered her timeless rendition of the cherished holiday spectacular, Kalogridis took the stage to kick the evening off with a little extra holiday cheer.
Inside a packed America Gardens Theater, Kalogridis announced the special donation. This support will be used to fund additional food deliveries in the community to support the needs of recent evacuees from Puerto Rico as a result of Hurricane Maria, allowing Second Harvest to nearly double their current support to evacuees. Each additional delivery will provide fresh produce for up to 200 families, and more than 30 lbs. of family-sized boxed foods. For every $1 contributed, Second Harvest can provide up to $9 worth of groceries to those who need it most.
A holiday tradition started by Walt Disney at Disneyland 57 years ago, the Candlelight Processional features the story of Christmas, told by a celebrity narrator and accompanied by festive songs performed by a 50-piece orchestra and choir. Adopted at Walt Disney World in 1971, the program has evolved into a full schedule of holiday performances, one of which is reserved for Central Florida community leaders. In recent years, Disney has announced a donation to a local nonprofit as part of the community event.
“The magic of Walt Disney World Resort doesn’t stop when you leave its parks,” said Dave Krepcho, President and CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. “The true magic is moments like these—a special and unexpected holiday gift that will further our mission of fighting hunger and feeding hope in the community, which is especially needed as our newest neighbors from Puerto Rico make Central Florida their home.”
Walt Disney World Resort and its Cast Members have supported Second Harvest Food Bank for more than 25 years, including distributing unused, prepared food from restaurants and conventions through the Disney Harvest Program, cash donations, and ongoing support of Disney VoluntEARs.