Star-Studded Virtual Snowball Express Supports Military Families 

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snowball express

Credit: Gary Sinise Foundation Snowball Express

Typically, the Gary Sinise Foundation’s Snowball Express takes the children of fallen soldiers on a once-in-a-lifetime vacation to Walt Disney World Resort.

gary sinise foundation snowball express
Credit: Gary Sinise Foundation

Related: Disney Donates 1,000 Toys to Toys for Tots!

This year, amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Snowball Express event moved online, where a host of celebrities created a magical experience for over 2,000 families of fallen soldiers — especially their children and current caregivers. Participants included musicians Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood, news anchor Robin Roberts, Marvel star Chris Pratt, Toy Story voice actor — and future live-action Gepetto — Tom Hanks, and more.

The official press release for the event reads, in part:

…[usually] culminating with a five-day trip to the Walt Disney World® Resort in Orlando, Florida. To protect the safety of the participating Gold Star families during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Gary Sinise Foundation has pivoted the annual event to a virtual celebration, offering a series of surprise celebrity guests, an entertaining opening ceremony, various resource groups designed to aid the families in the grieving process, and a special virtual concert put on by Gary Sinise & the Lt. Dan Band. 2,054 families of the fallen were invited to participate in this virtual celebration planned for the holiday season: a particularly challenging time for those who have experienced the loss of a loved one.

“With the support of our partners and sponsors, the Gary Sinise Foundation Snowball Express has been able to carry on a message of gratitude, remembrance, and appreciation for these incredibly deserving families. Our Snowball Express initiative provides an important space for these families to meet each other, connect, and through this network of support, they come to know they are not alone,” said actor/humanitarian Gary Sinise, the foundation’s Founder and Chairman. “We want to create moments of joy and new, happy memories for these families before the holidays, which is a very difficult time for a child who has lost a parent – and through this important GSF initiative we let them know that their loved ones – a mom or dad or a spouse who died in military service – will never be forgotten.”

You can watch the Gary Sinise Foundation 2020 Virtual Snowball Express event below:

Related: Disney Shares Heartfelt Veterans Day Messages

The Walt Disney Company has a long tradition of supporting military families — from a partnership with the United States Marine Corps.’ Toys For Tots program to the existence of the Shades of Green military hotel on Walt Disney World Resort property, Disney helps makes life magical for America’s military families.

Stay tuned to Inside the Magic for additional information about this year’s virtual Snowball Express and, to learn more about the incredible work of the Gary Sinise Foundation, visit their official website.

 

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