Food Bank Provides Essentials To Furloughed Disney World Workers
According to a recent post in the Orlando Sentinel (which you should check out here) a local food bank is providing much-need sustenance to Walt Disney World cast members that are still without work after the COVID-19 crisis. As the piece tells us furloughed workers begin arriving at the food bank at 4 am to stake out the spot for free groceries, some waiting as long as 4 1/2 hours.
By 9 am, rows of cards can stretch up to 2 miles long causing congestion in the Orange Blossom Trail area along Landstreet Road.
Many of those in line are furloughed Disney World employees who for the last four months have been flocking to the location where volunteers hand out groceries. The food bank was set up by Unite Here 737 a union that represents a large number of Disney employees including hotel housekeepers and food service workers.
Those running the service which typically provides meals to about 730 people a shift have said that the line last week was the longest they’d seen since the pandemic started according to the piece in the Sentinel.
What’s the reason for the increase? Those working at the pantry attribute it to the fact that the $600 federal unemployment benefit that those in Florida have been collecting each week stopped on July 31st. That means that furloughed workers are now getting the LOWEST unemployment benefits in the country coming in at a maximum of just $275 a week.
Ron DeSantis has addressed the issue saying that the state is working on plans to give an additional $330 to residents who qualify and that this will be retroactive beginning August. 1st.
To help provide for union members in need, Local 737 has spent over $100,000 on groceries over the past 16 weeks according to Union Leader Jeremy Haicken.
Despite most of the theme parks in Orlando being up and running, low attendance and limited operations have meant that many employees still haven’t been called back to work. There was a 15.3% unemployment rate in Orlando in July which was the highest in the state.
During last week’s meeting with Governor DeSantis, theme park execs admitted that there are many employees that haven’t yet been called back to work. Universal Orlando said that though many full time employees were now back at work they were not in a position to hire back seasonal/part-time workers. Though Disney was reluctant to disclose the number of workers still on furlough it admitted that though thousands of cast members have returned to the theme park and resorts there are still a large amount of workers that have not returned after being laid off in March.
This is a story we’ll continue to follow closely here at MickeyBlog so please keep following along with us and be sure to check out the Orlando Sentinel’s article in the link below!
Source: Orlando Sentinel