Monday, September 12, 2005

Disney Brings the ‘Magic Kingdom’ to Red Cross Shelter

Sunday, September 11, 2005 — Houston – In Reliant Center, home to many New Orleans Hurricane Katrina survivors, a childhood fantasy came to life yesterday when Mickey and Minnie Mouse, along with Goofy and Pluto, came to help the young and the young at heart.
The troop of Disney characters deployed to Houston from Orlando brought big smiles, laughs and comfort to Hurricane Katrina survivors temporarily residing in the Red Cross shelter at the Reliant Center, Sept. 10, 2005. (Photo Credit: Del McPeak/American Red Cross)
Shouts of “Mickey” or “Goofy” filled the room as the children ran to get hugs from their favorite Disney character. Soon all were dancing, clapping hands and giving high fives. Moms and dads, aunts and uncles joined in and let the childhood memories of happy times with Disney stories for a moment overshadow thoughts of Katrina and the past days.
Disney has a legacy of caring for children and families, and the characters bring comfort and familiarity during times of need. That is why the teams of young theater people and the facilitators come to visit after disasters such as earthquakes, fires and hurricanes, and why they visit children’s hospitals and other places where there are people in need of a moment of fantasy.
Two teams of characters came on a bus from Orlando. They take turns performing, one resting while the other team continues to entertain the children. Mickey and Minnie, of course, never get tired. Each actor is responsible for his own costume. Though they insist they are not costumes – they really are Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, and Goofy. Mickey and Minnie’s helpers from the special events team came from Houston and Los Angeles. They introduce the children to the characters and make sure all have a good time.
The Disney team also brought televisions, DVD players, videos, books and games to be set up in the Reliant Center to help the children and families get through these unsettling times. This equipment and the Disney films will be sent to shelters in six states.
The joy and comfort that Disney characters visiting Hurricane Katrina survivors staying in Reliant Center in Houston was not limited to the young, but touched the young at heart, Sept. 10, 2005. (Photo Credit: Del McPeak/American Red Cross)
Disney is an active partner and contributor to the Red Cross. They also partner with Points of Light Foundation, Habitat for Humanity and the Make-a-Wish foundation. Visiting Disney World – to meet a favorite princess or to be an animator for a day – is the number one wish of children to the Make-a-Wish foundation.
The extended family of Jeremy Lewis, 8, and Isreal Rodiquez, 2, enjoyed the fun – the grownups just as much as the children – along with many of the temporary residents of Reliant Center.


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