LAKE BUENA VISTA., Fla. Aug. 17, 2011 – When more than 80 air conditioning units at the Coalition for the Homeless recently needed service this summer, Disney VoluntEARS were quick to lend a helping hand to ensure the Coalition kept cool for those who work and stay there.
Coalition for the Homeless is more than a shelter; it is a comprehensive program designed to help homeless individuals and families get back on track to self-sufficiency. They offer numerous support services including job skills training, licensed day care, children’s programs and housing placement.
About 30 Disney VoluntEARS from across Walt Disney Parks and Resorts cleaned and serviced each of the units at the Coalition’s Women’s and Residential Counseling Center (WRCC), donating more than 300 volunteer hours.
“When we were finished servicing the air conditioning units, the team of Cast Members that volunteered their time all asked what they could do to keep helping at Coalition for the Homeless,” said Roger Arnold, manager of engineering services at Walt Disney World Resort. “We really enjoyed the opportunity to donate our time and offered to continue lending a helping hand. The Coalition thanked us and promised they would make us a list of projects we could help with next.”
Arnold said VoluntEARS don’t need to be engineers or have any mechanical expertise to help with projects at Coalition for the Homeless. The only requirement is a willingness to help.
Many Cast Members brought their children along to help the volunteer effort. The Disney VoluntEARS worked side-by-side with volunteers from local contractors McQuay International and Fastec Services.
“We are very grateful to the Disney VoluntEARS who generously donated their time and skills over several weekends to repair the air handler units at WRCC,” said Coalition for the Homeless President/CEO Brent A. Trotter. ”Not only did their work result in cool air for our residents and future utility efficiency, but it saved us tens of thousands in repair bills. I can’t thank them enough.”
Over the past several years, Coalition for the Homeless has been recognized as one of the top Disney’s Helping Kids Shine grant recipients. As part of this recognition, the Coalition continues to receive funding and ongoing comprehensive support from Disney, including board service, assistance in the maintenance and improvement of Coalition facilities – like the servicing of air conditioning units – as well as meals prepared by Disney chefs.