Walt Disney World Chefs Donate 650 Thanksgiving Meals

in Walt Disney World

The holidays are a time of giving and “peace on earth” — and 2020 should be, more than most other years, a year where our actions speak louder than our words. Hundreds of thousands of families are uncertain what the 2020 holiday season holds with potential lockdowns, layoffs, and other issues impact their households.

Walt Disney World Executive Chef James O’Donnell and his team have prepared nearly 650 traditional Thanksgiving meals for those in the Orlando, Florida area who are in need this year. The delicious feasts include roasted turkey, mashed potatoes with gravy, rolls, stuffing, green beans, salads, cranberry sauce, and dessert.

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According to Spectrum News 13, these meals, generously made by the top chefs at Walt Disney World Resort, will be served at the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida on Thanksgiving Day. Over 650 men, women, and children staying at its facilities will be able to celebrate this delectable holiday and enjoy delightful Walt Disney World food (fantastic!).

For more than 20 years, Disney has partnered with the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida to support hundreds of people in need in the Orlando area. Chef O’Donnell and his team of Disney Food and Beverage Department colleagues are on the frontline to make sure this tradition continues, despite setbacks from the coronavirus pandemic.

Magical Disney Chefs hard at work
Credit: Disney Parks

Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resort chefs are commonly in the spotlight on social media for their delicious treats, snacks, drinks, and meals found at Disney Parks worldwide, but this act of selflessness beats all of the churro posts on Instagram.

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Chef O’Donnell is grateful to have he and his Food and Beverage team provide for so many this Thanksgiving. Meredith Bekemeyer, Director of Development for Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida, stated,

There’s something special about gathering around the dinner table for a warm meal made with love — especially for our homeless neighbors in need who have fallen on hard times… This year has been challenging for everyone, and even more so for those facing the crisis of homelessness. We’re so grateful to Disney for continuing this longstanding tradition.

On top of the Thanksgiving meals, Disney is donating hundreds of to-go containers and $20,000 to the Coalition. The funds were collected from thousands of coins found in water fountains throughout the Walt Disney World Resort.

Disney stated on their official parks blog,

Every year, thousands of guests toss coins into fountains at our Resort and make a wish, and this year the funds collected from those fountains are being given to the Coalition to help make their annual Thanksgiving meal service possible. 

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As you being your Thanksgiving preparations, Chef James O’Donnell shared some of his personal favorite tips and ingredients to add a little magic to classic Thanksgiving meals.

Turkey Day Tips
Credit: Disney

We hope everyone has a safe and fantastic Thanksgiving — and get ready for Santa Claus to come to town! Chef O’Donnell and his team are true heroes!

How are you celebrating Thanksgiving? Let us know in the comments below!

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