BURBANK, Calif, January 21, 2004 – DisneyHand, worldwide outreach for The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS), announced today that it will provide each of the more than 300 children’s hospitals nationwide with party packages that include Disney toys, books, games, videos/DVD’s, computer games, television sets and party supplies. DisneyHand will distribute the packages, with the assistance of Starlight Children’s Foundation® and DHL, and will continue to provide these packages each year. DisneyHand has identified the months of January and February as a particularly important time to reach out to hospitalized children and to highlight Disney’s year-round commitment to children and families facing serious illness.
During the next six weeks, VoluntEARS in more than 80 cities from Disney affiliates, including Radio Disney, Disney Consumer Products, and ABC Television Network affiliates and owned stations, as well as Disney on Ice, which is a presentation of Feld Entertainment, will accompany Disney characters to children’s hospitals to deliver the packages and/or host parties and events for the young patients. Characters including Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Cinderella, Belle, and Ariel will attend parties in more than 25 cities, including Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, New York, Seattle, Miami, Orlando and Anaheim.
“Making dreams come true for children and families around the world has been at the root of all things Disney since our earliest days. It’s this great tradition and our dedicated volunteers that make us so proud to bring a little Disney magic to children’s hospitals nationwide,” said Robert Iger, president and COO of The Walt Disney Company.
“Now that the fun and festivity of the holiday season has passed, it can be especially difficult for a child to be hospitalized,” said Katherine Culpepper, executive director of Starlight Children’s Foundation. “The decorations have come down, the parties and presents are gone, and it is a lonely time for a kid who is in the hospital. The gifts are a wonderful way for DisneyHand and Starlight to continue to bring joy and laughter to children who most need it.”
In total, Disney will provide each hospital with more than 100 videos/DVD’s, stuffed Mickey Mouse dolls, Interactive computer games, board games, magazines, Mickey Mouse television sets and clocks and 100 books per hospital, totaling more than $5 million worth of merchandise. Baby Einstein, Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Buena Vista Games, Disney Consumer Products, Disney Cruise Lines, Disney Publishing Worldwide, Disneyland Resort, Radio Disney, The Walt Disney World Resort and as well as Disney on Ice, which is a presentation of Feld Entertainment, are all donating products and materials. The packages will be shipped, free of charge, by DHL as part of its Corporate Citizenship and community relations programs.
DisneyHand is dedicated to making the dreams of families and children a reality through public service initiatives, community outreach and volunteerism in the areas of learning, compassion, the arts and the environment. Disney’s compassion program involves giving and outreach throughout the year and is made up of several different efforts.
Visiting a Disney theme park is the number one wish of children with life-threatening illnesses, and in 2003 Disney donated more than $10 million in complimentary hotel stays and theme park admissions to children and their families. Disney also raises awareness for wish granting organizations through the creation and airing of public service announcements regarding wish organizations and their needs.
In response to natural disasters, DisneyHand works with the American Red Cross to support impacted areas and families. Disney VoluntEARS visit shelters bringing care packages, which have in the past included toys, games, blankets and books, and Disney characters often visit as well to bring a little joy to those who may have lost everything. This year, Disney will create a special Mickey Mouse doll for the Red Cross to give to children worldwide affected by a disaster. It is estimated that 500,000 children a year will receive this item.
DisneyHand also reaches out to military families in their times of need, and The Walt Disney Company is proud to be a USO World Sponsor, supporting outreach and marketing efforts on behalf of the USO and its programs to the families of service personnel stationed around the globe. Disney is providing more than $1 million in financial aid and in-kind support for the USO, and Disney talent continue to visit U.S. troops abroad. In the coming weeks, Disney will donate videos, toys, games and magazine to the 135 USO Family Centers around the world and will continue to do so annually.
For more information on DisneyHand’s compassion programs, please visit our Web site at www.disneyhand.com.
Starlight is an international non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for seriously ill children and their families. Working with more than 1,000 hospitals worldwide, the Foundation provides an impressive menu of both in-hospital and outpatient programs and services. A leader in delivering distractive entertainment, Starlight’s programs benefit over 100,000 children each month. For more information, go to www.starlight.org. DHL is the global market leader of the international express industry with a rich history of providing transportation of aid to those in need around the globe. DHL’s global network of logistics, express, air and ocean freight and overland transport services link more than 220 countries and territories worldwide. The company is dedicated to its global Corporate Citizenship program and believes it can best serve through partnerships with other companies, making positive contributions through their core competencies. DHL’s philanthropic program focuses on providing express delivery and logistics expertise to a number of initiatives established by the World Economic Forum and to select initiatives within the communities in which it serves.