In its third year in a row, Disney Store Headquarters teamed up with Foothill Family Services this holiday season to adopt local families and seniors in need to make their holiday wishes come true! To get a behind-the-scenes look at the project, I sat down with Ginger Mort, council member of VoluntEARS and head of the Adopt-A-Family team at Disney Store Headquarters and asked her some questions. (By the way, Ginger wins the all-time award for having the most festive and happy place in the whole office. While interviewing her I couldn't help but notice that her twinkling eyes and cheery face matched the twinkling lights and holiday spirit she has packed onto every inch and corner of her desk area. See photo below and you'll understand.)
Amy: Ginger, can you explain what the Adopt-A-Family project is about?
Ginger: The Adopt-A-Family project is about adopting underprivileged families in our local area and meeting their needs. We work with Foothill Family Services, an organization that is committed to improving infant, child, youth and family development in the local community.
A: Where does it all begin and how does Disney Store HQ participate?
G: Foothill Family services sends us files of families that want to participate. Each family file tells us the number of people in each family, the ages of the family members, their situation and their needs. Every family has a story. Every year I read through all of the stories and from there, decide which families we can help the most. After the families are chosen, my team and I write down the different items each family member has requested onto paper ornaments. For example, a senior might request a pair of warm shoes, some socks, and a belt. We'll write "warm shoes" "socks" and "belt" on different ornaments, noting the age and gender. The needs they request are often very general so in addition to the items each family requests, we also include extra items we think they would like. After writing all the items on different paper ornaments we put all the ornaments out on a big table in the middle of our office lobby and invite everyone at Disney Store Headquarters to pick up an ornament or ornaments and purchase the item written on each. All the paper ornaments are then collected a couple of weeks later with the item on the tag attached. After that, the office has a little wrapping party and all of us volunteer time out of a few days to wrap all the presents and put them into different bags for each family. After wrapping everything we transport all the gifts to Glendale, where they are collected. This year we had a total of 340 ornaments and 7 cars were needed to transport all the gifts! In addition to meeting each family's requests, we also raise money to buy each family a Christmas tree and a grocery card. This money is raised from an annual employee talent show put on by Disney Consumer Products called Applause for a Cause. Tickets to the talent show and CD's of the talent show are sold to continue fundraising for future Adopt-A-Family programs.This year we used the funds to buy Christmas trees, grocery cards, and include trimmings for each tree and a blanket for each senior!
A: Can you give us a little history on Disney Store Headquarters' involvement with Adopt-A-Family?
G: Of course! Disney Store Headquarters first participated in the VoluntEARS Adopt-A-Family project in 2008, adopting 5 families- a total of 24 people. This number quickly grew as Disney Store HQ adopted 6 families (34 people) in 2009 and then 7 families and 8 seniors (48 people) this year.
A: Ginger, you are the team leader of the Adopt-A-Family team at Disney Store Headquarters! How many people are on the Disney Store Adopt-A-Family team and is there participation from other parts of the Walt Disney Company?
G: My team is made up of 16 committee members, three of who have been on the team for two years already and five who have been on the team for all three years. Yes, there is definitely a lot of participation from other parts of the company and they have been participating before Disney Stores got involved! The Walt Disney Company as a whole adopted 151 families and 112 seniors!
A: Wow! And how does it feel to be part of this project? What is the most rewarding part about helping so many families?
G: What gets me the most are the family stories I get to read. There's always one that makes me cry every year. Luckily, this year there were not a lot of people in the office when I started crying. Laughs Oh, but the stories! You wouldn't believe the circumstances that some of these people live in! One of the highlights of the project this year was definitely being at the Adopt-A-Family party where the families came to receive their gifts. I loved seeing each family members' face as they came into the room because they never expected to get so many bags! I love to see the surprised look on their faces because the families are so humble! Most of the kids are way too excited to wait until Christmas to open the presents. Smiles The party is definitely the highlight.
A: Do you volunteer a lot on your personal time?
G: Yes! I volunteer a lot. I think it's important to help people when and where we can. There are so many opportunities out there, we just need to keep our eyes open for them!
A: What does next year look like for Disney Store Headquarters and the Adopt-A-Family project?
G: Well, with the trend of how things are going, we'll be adopting more families and more seniors here at Disney Store Headquarters! I'm so excited that there is a growing involvement of everyone in the building!
Paper ornaments set up on table in the middle of Disney Store HQ office building. Employees are encouraged to choose a paper ornament(s), purchase the item on the ornament and bring it back to be wrapped for the families!
Thanks for your time, Ginger! I'm sure everyone looks forward to see what Disney Store Headquarters will be up to next year!
Can't find Dance Star Mickey anywhere? DisneyStore.com's got him! Watch as Quest Crew dances off with Dance Star Mickey below then disco, rumba, and moondance over to DisneyStore.com to get one for the dance star in you! If you order now with 3-Day Express Shipping he will come just in time for the holidays!
Last week I made a visit to our Disney Store in Montebello, CA to see them get ready to give their bundles of cuddly plush to the Toys for Tots Foundation! All Disney Stores from around the country joined in to help give a total of 20,000 plush toys this holiday season to the Toys for Tots Foundation!
From Montebello, CA:
Jerrod Washington (Associate General Manager), Sandra Cabrera, Sonia Rodriguez (General Manager), Nancy Mejia, Elva Perez and Eddie Sanchez-Ramos (Assistant Store Manager) get ready to donate plush from their Montebello store
From McLean, VA:
From Miami, FL:
From Chicago, IL:
Thank you to all of our cast members, the marines from Toys for Tots and YOU, our guest, for joining us in sharing the magic! 20,000 plush? Now that's a whole lot of cuddly-cute magic for children this holiday season!
You can enter the grid in theaters starting tomorrow to watch the long-anticipated TRON: Legacy, but trust me when I say you'll want to enter this grid tomorrow as well when a day quite ordinary turns extraordinary in the virtual world...
We are excited to share with you three TRON themed Disney Gift Cards exclusive to Disney Store and DisneyStore.com.
At your local Disney Store in the US, you can find the TRON Light Cycle design below which features the rebellious Sam Flynn.
These three cards can be redeemed just like any Disney Gift Card, but are unique because they feature a QR Code on the back.
You need to have the software, but QR Readers are usually free and available for download right to your handset. It’s worth downloading because more and more companies are using QR code technology to deliver interesting content to you via your mobile phone.
Once scanned, this code will take you directly to the official “TRON: Legacy” website where you can learn all about the movie.
There are a lot of fun words that make their way around the Disney Store office these days, but among them all, BOGOGO is by far my favorite. You can't really not smile when you say it out loud. (Go on, I know you want to try!) BOGOGO!
Wonderfully enough, BOGOGO is not only a fun word to hear and say, but it also stands for something that puts smiles on people's faces- 20,000 children's faces, in fact. BOGOGO is the acronym for Disney Store's Buy One, Get One, Give One holiday campaign.
This year Toys for Tots Marines will be picking up 20,000 cute and cuddly new plush from local Disney Stores and delivering them to local children to ensure they have a special gift this holiday season. With the support of our guests, Disney Store's Buy One, Get One, Give One holiday campaign resulted in 20,000 new plush donated to the Toys for Tots Foundation. Every time a Disney Store guest purchased a plush toy in store from November 29 through December 7 the guest received a second plush to take home and a plush toy was donated on their behalf to Toys for Tots. Last weekend, Toys for Tots Marines visited Seattle's Alderwood Mall store to pick up a truckload of toys.
The Toys for Tots Marines will continue to make their way to more local Disney Stores for more magical pick ups! We'll be following them and showing you more photos and news as they make their way!
Thanks for Sharing The Magic and BOGOGO-ing with us this holiday season! =)
When you wish upon a star,
makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires will come to you
If Vinylmation is in your dreams,
or you like what's behind the scenes,
When you wish upon a star as bloggers do
(We are kind, we bring to those who read
The sweet fulfillment of their secret longing)
Like a bolt out of the blue,
we step in and inform you
When you wish upon a star, your dreams come true
So tell us, Buzz readers, what do you wish to see on the Disney Store blog?
Ever wanted to know how the Disney Princess costumes are designed? Wonder what the Disney Store is doing for the holidays? Ever wish you could see what a toy designer has on his desk? We have a lot of behind the scenes, sneak peeks, and magical events to come your way but we wanted to know what matters most to YOU so we can make way for a fantastic new year of buzz-worthy reading. Tell us in the comments below and we'll do all we can to make your blogging dreams come true! ;)
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