On Thursday, November 12, 2015, Universal Studios Hollywood brought in needy and/or homeless children of all ages and from all over the LA area for “A Day of Giving.” An event that is now in its 11th year, brought kids in to provide them with backpacks, shoes, clothes, books, a small snack and a day in the Universal Studios Hollywood Theme Park. A few of the parks minions even popped in to take photos and play with the kids.
One of the park employees, Steve, volunteered for the third year this year. “It warms my heart. I have two kids myself, and seeing all these kids here, just the biggest smiles and having a wonderful time, it’s terrific and I am so happy to be apart of it.”
Universal Studios Hollywood works with Discover A Star Foundation to put events on throughout the year to help with different charities. So for events such as “Day of Giving,” Universal worked with many different groups that could donate the needed materials to provide for the kids.
Tammy Wood, Senior Facilitator with the LAUSD Homeless Education Program, says “it’s an amazing event, where we bring 250 needy children from LAUSD schools for an event here at the park. Children get a new backpack with school supplies, they go onto the Operation School Bell truck and they get new clothes and shoes…and then they get to go into the park with front line passes and a personal tour from a Universal Studios employee.”
“It means everything to our children and it’s great to be apart of this event and let our kids know how much the community cares about them and that they’re here to help make a difference in their life.” Tammy said.
Elizabeth, who is a Coordinator at Manchester Avenue Elementary School, says “It means a lot to me. It’s a great opportunity to bring the kids that don’t have the chance to do something like this and seeing their faces just makes me smile.”
For so many of the employees who came out to help, the smiles on the children’s faces were enough of a thank you for them. They made sure that no child left without something, other than a smile. Many of these kids got a small snack and something to drink, something that can make the biggest difference, especially when the last meal, was who knows when.
A few of the kids got the opportunity to meet and take pictures with Extra host Mario Lopez.
“It’s so awesome to be able to work here and to be apart of this team and to be able to give back to the community…It’s just part of what we do everyday.” says Diana, who is with the IT group at Universal Studios Hollywood.
For many of them, the chance to see these children walk away with the brightest smiles, well, “that’s the best part. To be able to do something nice for them and to know how much they get out of it. We love doing this,” says Diana. “It’s really an effort,” says Steve.
And so many of the kids went back with new supplies, new clothes, new shoes, and to say they got to experience Universal Studios Hollywood, and even met a few minions.
Here are photos from the event:
Photos by : Jayme Seleska Photography