Walt Disney Partners Statue

Orlando Food Bank For Laid Off Walt Disney World Cast Members In Danger of Closing

In May, UNITE HERE Local 737, a union for Cast Members, opened an Orlando food bank for laid-off Cast Members. Unfortunately, the food bank is now in danger of closing due to a lack of food and financial support.

The Walt Disney Company has now laid off 32,000 Cast Members from Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World. Over 30,000 Cast Members also remain on furlough.

News 13 spoke to Sharon Ryan, who worked at Cinderella Castle before being furloughed and now laid off this month. Ryan not only volunteers at the food bank but is also one of many who need it.

“Twenty-five years ago is when I hired on at Disney,” Ryan said. “I had to do a resume, what do you put on there? That I have been somewhere for 25 years?”

UNITE HERE Local 737 Trustee Sonja Flowers said of the layoffs, “When they started out with 200 (people), it was a lot of work. We couldn’t believe how many, but now at 1,200 (people) every week, it goes more and more and more.”

Officials with the union say that their food bank’s resources are so low that they don’t know how much longer they will be able to provide help. They are expecting at least another 1,200 cars at their weekly distribution this Saturday and are spending about $20,000 a week.

“It’s disheartening,” Flowers said. “We need food.”  

If you are interested in donating or volunteering with UNITE HERE Local 737, you can contact them at 407-851-0626. Their offices, where they distribute food each Saturday, are at 1255 La Quinta Drive #212 in Orlando.

The Walt Disney Company restored the salaries of its Senior Executives in late August, when thousands of Cast Members were still on furlough.

We at WDWNT are supporting these Cast Members as much as possible. You can help too! Help raise money for the Cast Member Pantry by donating directly through WDWNT.

The donation-based organization also has an Amazon Wish List as well as Venmo—their account is: @castmemberpantry. Cast Members can email Cast Member Pantry or contact them via their Facebook page to book a 15-minute “shopping” window.

For more information on booking your next trip with our official travel agent sponsor, the Vacationeer, visit wdwnt.travel.

  1. When Disney Execs read headlines like these , i wonder if they stop and do something? this is something of their doing.
    if i was running Disney Co i would atleast make a $500K contribution to this foodbank than to some art organization or BLM related charities (just so i look Pc ).
    its a matter of ethics , company values & responsibility…

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