Furloughed Cast Members Helped By Drive-Thru Food Bank

(Photo Credit: Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel)

While Disney executives had their full pay reinstated, hundreds of others are still waiting to return back to work. As the furloughs push on further for many, money and resources are getting tighter and tighter and uring the past few months volunteers have been handing out free bags and boxes of food at a drive-thru food bank that has been organized by the Unite Here 737 union.

The program is called the Cast Member Pantry and you can learn more about them on Facebook.

Here’s their write-up:

Helping fellow Cast Members out in time of need. We are a small food bank with groceries donated by Cast Members, for Cast Members. We are not affiliated directly with Disney and are a startup comprised of volunteer Cast Members.

Cast Members are helping each other.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, people start lining up at 4:30 in the morning and wait hours until the food distribution begins.

The Orlando Sentinel even reports that people come on bicycles but the number in need is growing!

People without cars ride up on bicycles to stash as much food as they can in their backpacks.

Previously, the group served about 730 people, but the last Saturday in August felt different, several say. It’s the longest line yet since the pandemic started.”

People are lined up for hours, in a car/bike line about two miles long to get food to survive. Many executives complained when they got 20-30% pay cuts, but they got to stay employed and paid.

I get it. If you don’t have the money or work available people may need to stay furloughed longer, however, when you are a company that leverages “positivity,” “community” and “family” maybe you should keep the pay cuts and do what you can to help your loyal employees get through. Disney had no trouble donating food and treats when the closure started. They had all that surplus and they needed to unload it. Donations are good for tax write-offs and fantastic for PR.

 Cast Members understand “community” and “family.”

Volunteers work hours to make sure people are getting the food they need. People in the community are donating to make sure people get what they need. I keep saying the Cast Members are “the heart of Disney” and I still stand by that. The Union is doing what they can to make sure their members have something. They have spend $100,000 on groceries in the past 4 months or so. The Society of St. Andrew has also stepped in to do what they can and provide food as well. This is true community Disney.

Some of you might be asking why they don’t just find another job?

It isn’t that easy. The unemployment rate was 15.3% in July. I’m sure many are looking for something else but not many are lucky enough to get another job. The demand for employment outweighs the opportunity.

We’ve been there ourselves! During the recession, when the unemployment was really high, my husband put in applications for over 200 jobs and got nothing. Moving was out of the question because that takes money. People might not have the options to just “get out” of the situation.

If you are reading this and you would like to help there’s an email address for the organization. Reach out and see if there’s anything you can do. You can contact them at castmemberpantry@gmail.com. I do believe they are taking monetary donations from Venmo, but you will need to check with them to be sure.

I also recommend reading the original article in the Orlando Sentinel. It has a lot of quotes and stories that need to be shared.

“Community” matters and the Unite Here 737 Union and Disney Cast Members are showing us exactly what that means.

What do you think? Comment and let us know!

Source: Orlando Sentinel


Pirates & Princesses (PNP) is an independent, opinionated fan-powered news blog that covers Disney and Universal Theme Parks, Themed Entertainment and related Pop Culture from a consumer's point of view. Opinions expressed by our contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of PNP, its editors, affiliates, sponsors or advertisers. PNP is an unofficial news source and has no connection to The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal or any other company that we may cover.