Universal Studios Hollywood is back again to help bring a little joy to the under privileged families from their community. Last Saturday, Universal Studios Hollywood’s “Discover a Star” foundation gave back to the community by holding the annual “Christmas in Spring” event at the M.E.N.D. The largest poverty agency in the San Fernando valley, M.E.N.D. provides food, clothing, medical, dental, educational programs and other support services to 50,000+ clients per year.
Since first covering the event last year, it has become one of my favorite items to share and write about. So much good is done at this event and it really warms my heard.
Universal employees, from ticket booth to tour guide, from ride operator to corporate show up to volunteer their time and give over 1,000 individuals from the community a chance to forget their worries for a moment and have some fun. Food, games, Universal characters, and some movie magic made for an afternoon of festive diversions.
One of the big highlights at the event is a visit from Santa Claus in July. Inside the M.E.N.D. building, Santa held court as families lined up to sit on his lap and give him their wish lists. Volunteers from the ”Discover a Star” foundation, wearing a powder blue t-shirt, buzzed about in the lobby, delivering Despicable Me plush toys and keepsake pictures from their visit with Saint Nick.
Outside red and white stripped tents housed a variety of activities including face painting, games, crafts, and even a book fair!
There was also a crafts tent where families could sit and enjoy a little artsy time.
Of course the Universal Characters were out in full force as well. Dora the Explorer, the Despicable Me Minions,
There was also a lot of food. Universal employees presided over a gigantic feast serving, 600 pounds of chicken, 600 pounds of vegetables, 600 pounds of salad, and 4,000 desserts to families in the community.
This is just the off-season version of the annual “Day Of Giving” event held at Universal Studios Hollywood park in November, Christmas in Spring addresses the needs of struggling families when many aren’t focus on charitable endeavors. This is just one event, however, as Universal works with 65 different non-profit organizations, donating thousands of volunteer hours annually, culminating in the Universal Studios Charity Golf Classic in September that brings in the year’s largest contributions. Connecting through the brand is what Universal does at the theme park. Here the Universal team connects with those in the community, those in need. President and Chief Operating Officer of Universal Studios Hollywood, Larry Kurzweil stated, “We are able to make a personal connection. We get to help people that really need it on a personal level.”
Community Relations Director, Dorothea Scattaglia said, “Universal Studios Hollywood has been celebrating “Christmas in the Spring” for the past 24 years as a way to connect with those in our community facing challenges at a non-traditional time of year when their needs are often overlooked. This event provides a platform for Universal Studios Hollywood employees to do what they do best – give families an opportunity to forget their hardships, enjoy time together and create fond memories. And in exchange, employees leave the event filled with a festive spirit and sense of pride to work for a company that believes in the value of giving back.”
It was a another remarkable day for the kids and families of M.E.N.D., thanks to the awesome team at Universal Studios. At the end of the day, it’s the smiles on the faces of the kids we’ll remember most. Kids who have been through so much and deserve to smile and have a good time. And that’s really what it’s all about.
All of us at MiceChat would like to incourage you to get involved with M.E.N.D. or make a donation, we invite you to visit their website HERE.