Lending a helping hand through their expertise in guest service, approximately 400 Walt Disney World Cast Members volunteered to answer more than 15,000 calls for the “Hope for Haiti Now” telethon and route donations to disaster relief organizations participating in the historic event. The benefit, which featured more than 100 of the biggest names in the entertainment industry, aired worldwide on major networks and cable outlets on Jan. 22 and raised more than $61 million for earthquake disaster relief.
“I feel like my heart is in Haiti,” said Wendy Richard, a Disney Cast Member who helped field calls and process donations for the global broadcast from the Disney Reservations Center in Orlando. Like thousands of Walt Disney World Cast Members, Richard has close personal ties to Haiti and has lost friends and family in the region. “Anything I can do to help from here, I really want to do it,” said Richard.
Accepting donations ranging from five dollars to $15,000, Cast Members kept their enthusiasm and energy up Friday night as the calls kept coming for more than two hours.
“Disney Cast Members are generous, compassionate and know how to rally when people are in need,” said Shannon McAleavey, senior vice president of Walt Disney World Resort Public Affairs, who noted that every donation was equally powerful and every dollar will make a difference.
Funds raised from “Hope for Haiti Now” will benefit The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, Oxfam America, Partners in Health, the Red Cross, UNICEF, the United Nations World Food Programme and Yele Haiti Foundation. Donations are still being accepted online at www.hopeforhaitinow.org.
Offering to help with the “Hope for Haiti Now” telethon is one of many ways The Walt Disney Company and Disney Cast Members are extending their support to the people of Haiti. The Walt Disney Company has committed $100,000 in humanitarian aid through the Red Cross International Fund to support relief efforts and is working closely with Cast Members from Haiti to accommodate their needs during this difficult time. Cast Members also have the option to make a direct contribution from their paycheck to the Red Cross Crisis Relief Fund.