The true meaning of the Thanksgiving holiday was expressed at Universal Studios Hollywood’s 13th annual “Day of Giving” community outreach event on November 9. Hundreds of Universal’s employee volunteers band together in support of Operation School Bell and hosted 300 homeless children from LAUSD elementary schools. The big-hearted volunteers were rewarded by seeing smiles from the kids that would light up a gazillion Christmas trees.
The inspiring “Day of Giving” event is a yearly Universal Studios Hollywood tradition designed to connect employees with diverse community charities. Many of the local organizations are beneficiaries of Universal’s Discover A Star Foundation whose mission is to empower individuals and families to lead more productive and fulfilling lives.
As part of this year’s event, the youngsters were welcomed at the front entrance of Universal where they were given new jackets, clothing, sneakers, backpacks, books and school supplies. Then they enjoyed an afternoon of theme park fun with a visit to “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.” Other highlights included a chance for the kids to visit with Minions and experience the popular “Despicable Me Minion Mayhem” ride and “Super Silly Fun Land” play zone. And they ventured aboard the world-famous Studio Tour to experience the “Fast & Furious – Supercharged” thrill ride.
Several other non-profit organizations benefited from the giving spirit of hundreds of Universal employee volunteers. The big-hearted helpers were deployed around Los Angeles to support community-building efforts at worthwhile organizations. AIDS Project L.A. employees volunteered at the North Hollywood food pantry and helped assemble food bags. At the Downtown Women’s Center, volunteers helped prepare brown bag lunches and toiletry kits for those in need. Volunteers joined the Tree People to assist with tree care, maintain trails and remove invasive plants. At Union Station Homeless Services, participants prepared and served lunch. And Universal employees took part in a “play date” with special needs children at a nearby Shane’s Inspiration playground.
Bless them all for showing the true spirit of the season.
Margie Barron is a member of the Television Critics Association and has written for a variety of top publications for more than 35 years, and was proud to be half of the husband and wife writing team of Margie and Frank Barron.