The Disney spirit is more magical than ever, thanks to a pair of theme park bloggers. After the news last week that Disney Parks would be laying off 28,000 employees, Sarah and Tom Bricker — the couple who has been running DisneyTouristBlog.com since 2011 — launched a team page on Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida’s site to raise money for the food bank that serves the community where many of the impacted former Walt Disney World cast members live. To date, they have raised more than $45,000.
“Layoffs and indefinite furloughs at Walt Disney World, other theme parks, and throughout the hospitality industry have had a disproportionate impact on Central Florida,” Tom Bricker wrote in a post following the news of layoffs. “At this point, so many have been negatively impacted in some way — either directly or via family and friends who have lost their employment and are nervous about what the future holds. It’s nothing short of heartbreaking.”
Since their blog has never asked for monetary contributions for its information on Disney Parks around the globe, this was the first time the Brickers asked their followers to open up their wallets. “If you like this blog and have found it has helped improve or add value to your vacations, please donate to Second Harvest,” Tom wrote in the post.
To kick off the efforts, the central Florida couple fronted $500 to “preemptively match” the first donations. While their initial goal was $2,000, they quickly surpassed that and updated their target to $30,000, according to CNN. As of Monday afternoon, their Second Harvest page said they had raised $46,609.
“They started the page as a way for their blog community to support local tourism workers who have been economically impacted by recent theme park layoffs, reduced attendance, and other factors affecting our local workforce,” Erika Spence, spokesperson for Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, told CNN, noting that they raised $25,000 within the first 24 hours.
To embrace the entire community, the funds raised won’t be targeted to only former Disney cast members. "With the scale of these layoffs and the unemployment numbers in Central Florida, even more help is still urgently needed in our community," the post also said.
In addition to Second Harvest, the post encourages fans to donate to other local causes, including Cast Member Pantry for employees in need; Unite Here Local 737, a local union representing Walt Disney World food and service employees; and organizations helping the homeless like Kissimmee’s Community Hope Center, United Against Poverty Orlando, and Embrace Celebration.
While they’re based in Florida, the Brickers also note the impact on the employees of Disneyland, directing those who would like to support the Anaheim theme park to California’s Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County.
“No matter where in the world you reside, we are part of a truly global community as Walt Disney World fans,” the couple wrote on their fundraising page. “We hope you'll join us in giving back to help those in the community during this time of unprecedented need.”
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