COVID-19 has been the cause of a lot of places closing, but this one hurts.
Give Kids The World Village is an 84-acre, nonprofit resort in Central Florida that provides weeklong, cost-free vacations to children with critical illnesses and their families. The Village and its community partners, along with thousands of volunteers, provide sick kids and their families free accommodations in fully-furnished villas, transportation, tickets to theme parks, meals, daily entertainment and much more.
The Village was established by hotelier Henri Landwirth and has been running (and expanding) since 1986. Since then, over 175,000 sick children and families, many referred through wish-granting organizations such as Make-A-Wish, have been able to go to Central Florida for a week, for free, have fun, and make memories that can last a lifetime.
GKTW has been closed since the 2019 Novel Coronavirus upended all of our lives in March and they, like most of us, were just riding it out, waiting to see what would happen. Unfortunately, Make-A-Wish Foundation, which pays for many of the 8,000 families who visit each year, recently made the decision to no longer grant wishes that involve travel or being among large groups at this time. With that, GKTW president and CEO Pamela Landwirth has made the difficult decision to close the Village until further notice.
As reported in the Orlando Sentinel, Landwirth said, “We support their decision. It is heart-wrenching, but the safety and well-being and health of our very vulnerable children and families are our utmost priorities. And at this point, we just don’t know when it will be safe for them to travel, when it will be safe to be in places with large groups.”
GKTW is a popular and well-known charity, not only in Central Florida (they have over 18,000 active volunteers) but among Disney fans. In fact Ed from “Pizza In Motion” and Summer “Mommy Points” did a “Ride All The Rides At Walt Disney World” challenge a couple of years ago, to raise money for the non-profit organization.
Alongside their volunteers, GKTW has over 170 employees. A small team of employees will remain on the payroll for security and maintenance reasons, and to continue with the Village’s fundraising and communications. The hope is that once proper medical intervention for COVID-19 is available, and they, the theme parks and the wish-granting organizations all feel it’s safe for vulnerable guests to visit, they will be able to reopen.
Donations to Give Kids The World can be made on this page of their website.
#stayhealthy #staysafe #washyourhands
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary