A "Give A Day" tale


Yesterday was my Give A Day volunteer day, and I was really excited. The organization I was helping had planned a Weekend Snack Pack program to distribute lunch bags full of healthy food to the kids who benefit from weekday school lunch programs but don’t have access to that food over the weekends. The program is so cool!

Well, anyway, this is the first year for the program, and they are still organizing. But we arrived at 2:30 with personally donated food in huge bags and we planned to be there for a few hours. We were at a beautiful hotel in the ballroom. Really nice surroundings, and I was already feeling a little sheepish that my work would be a short afternoon in a lavish ballroom instead of a full day of construction work or something harder!

There were a lot of people who were clearly there to enjoy making a difference. But there were others there too who were just there for the free park day. One elderly couple were busy congratulating themselves on how they found such a cushy Give A Day program! I was steaming mad at them! But, so many people were rocking the true intent of the day that it was OK – there was a group of employees from UPS who were there to chip in as well, so it was not just Disney people.

The organizers were very gracious and their organizing skills were phenomenal, and in a matter of minutes, they had unloaded vans full of juice boxes, canned meals, cereals, etc. and they asked us to unpack all the cartons, organize the foods onto banquet tables and break down the boxes for recycling. There were a dozen of us there, and the whole procedure took only 30 minutes! We were expecting them to say our next duty was to stuff the individual lunch bags, but instead they thanked us for our service and explained another group was coming in to stuff the bags!

My guilt went into severe overdrive!

I feel really badly that 30 minutes of light work is translating into a free park day, when so many other people are devoting an entire day of serious hard work. And of course that older couple were truly thrilled at their good fortune. Grrrr.

So, my point is, it was terrific to support Disney’s efforts to encourage volunteerism and it felt great to be involved with a program that addressing childhood hunger. But in the end, I felt like I benefited more than the charity did, and I feel a little sad about that.


Thanks for spending your time with a charity!
Don’t feel bad :slight_smile: You completed the task they asked you to! I have volunteered on a crisis line for 8 years and some days are busy and some are not. That is the flow. There are days I wonder if I am really providing a service and then I shut my mouth when I get several calls at once. :slight_smile: After the calls, I am glad I do what I do.

As far as you getting more than the charity, I look at a one day ticket as hmmm… what will I do with this? I know when I go I will have at least a 5 day pass so adding a day is really only “worth” a few bucks to me. I also fall under the umbrella that volunteering should not bring the volunteer a return other than the happy fuzzies. If it does, it is an exchange of sorts. Just my opinion! LOL!

I am torn on the give a day program. But, I do think it is a good way to get people out to volunteer that may not have otherwise. Maybe they will find it a positive experience and keep it up!


If this charity is signed up with Disney, chances are they are overwhelmed with people wanting to volunteer. Maybe they are creating shorter tasks to get people through.
Try checking back after the promotion, I bet they will really need help again :slight_smile: Maybe that can abate your guilt!



As far as you getting more than the charity, I look at a one day ticket as hmmm… what will I do with this? I know when I go I will have at least a 5 day pass so adding a day is really only “worth” a few bucks to me. I also fall under the umbrella that volunteering should not bring the volunteer a return other than the happy fuzzies. If it does, it is an exchange of sorts. Just my opinion! LOL!

I am torn on the give a day program. [/QUOTE]

I hear you – I am a constant volunteer – library, hospital, school, you name it – I am or have been on the board. I see the warm fuzzies as the perfect reason to do what I do. I log hours each week as a volunteer, and it feels great.

The Give A Day program, I hope, will give everyone who hasn’t had that feeling the chance to experience it. Increasing volunteerism is such a great goal!

But I also think that a free park day for 30 minutes of work is way too generous, and it makes me feel sort of embarrassed.


Ooooh, the BackPack Program. Awesome program. Pushed DD15 to work on that for her Silver Award in Scouts when she was 12. They were starting to introduce it here and needed someone to spotlight in the kickoff.

We volunteer a lot of different places, somewhere doing something every month but unfortunately they aren’t listed in the Dis program. I did earn my certificate as a GS Leader while taking my girls to the Rescue Mission to serve a meal, which took 45 min. Like you, I didn’t feel that was enough so I scheduled another date to volunteer as well. Several of my girls are getting their certificate by stuffing Easter Eggs for the cities annual Easter Egg Hunt. If they didn’t already do monthly service in the community i’d feel there was a short-change somewhere, but they do pull the hours it’s just not recognized by Disney therefore my guilt has subsided:happy:


I am feeling better! :happy:


I too volunteer with so many different things(PTO, theatre boards, church, community events) or take on huge undertakings like running a school theatre program for very little pay.
I wouldn’t feel guilty for getting a pass for 30 minutes of work as I know I have done so much that doesn’t even count toward the program.
If I didn’t really volunteer often I would just volunteer for another day of help. I actually really enjoy helping out with things. However, sometimes I just need to learn to say no.


We had a similiar experience with our volunteer day. Our choice were limited since I had a 6 and 8 year old. We signed up to help out at a local boys and girls club. The advertisement was packing care packages for Haiti, making pillows and blankets for the homeless, making valentines for the elderly, and thank you cards for local police and fireman, and painting flower pots for the elderly. It sounded like a great time. My boys were very excited to be helping Haiti (I never told them about the get a day give a day program, just that we were going to help people)

We could come anytime between 9a and 9p, stay for as little or as long as we wanted. We arrived at 10:30am.  They were done with the care packages, there were no pillows or blankets to make. So....we ended up making valentines(they only had 1 bottle of glue for 4 tables), painting pots (they ran out of pots by 11:30am), and made a thank you card. We spent money for the kids to jump in the bouce house, eat lunch, shoot baskets...everything required a ticket for .50 to participate in anything.

I think they were overwhelmed with the amount of people. Very disorganized. Many people were complaing that there was nothing for them to do…they wanted to help, but couldn’t. I think they weren’t prepared for that many volunteers.

I assumed because it was geared with smaller children in mind thats why all the problems, guess not


Yeah, that’s how I’m afraid I would feel. I think this promotion is a great idea… but I also believe that there are certain people that are called to do volunteer work, and that if you’re doing it just for personal benefit, then it’s just a waste. I’m sure Disney’s intent was to get people to volunteer and then realize that they love helping other people. But I’m afraid that it’s going to backfire and get organizations many one-time-helpers who just came to get the free Disney day.


Wait . . . stop the pressed. In the guidelines it say up to 2 hours of your time. Yes yours took 30 minutes but on average it’s a 2 hour volunteer window. Think about it 2 x 600,000 = 1,200,000 volunteer hours that wouldn’t have been given otherwise.

You did good Ms. Dis!! Don’t beat yourself up. I’ve had friends give books to needy kids, literally stand at the top of a line, and hand and book “NEXT”, etc. I’ve had friends pick up litter on the beach and another friend help paint a house. So there are a lot of different things you can do.

It’s sad about the older couple, but at least they showed up and did their part “they did do their part . . . right?”

Don’t forget when you get to Disney to get your “Give a day, Get a day” button. I’ve seen so many people walking around the parks wearing them with pride. PLUS, think how many people the volunteering bug has caught now . . . it’s all good.


How can it backfire? As long as the people showing up on THAT day, do what they are suppose to, the organization is helped. If people show up and goof off for the day (no pun intended) then it’s a problem.


That’s what I meant. And then they are giving away “free days” for nothing, really. Just a nuisance for the organizers.


Right! Well, I believe at the end of the day, you have to get a paper signed that you did the work. Is that right?


I think they were overwhelmed with the amount of people.[/QUOTE]

My impression too. I felt that maybe more people showed up than planned. And everyone (even the older couple) worked at top speed. I guess it is possibly that it would have taken much longer with a smaller group. Or, if a ton of kids had shown up (it would have been a perfect job for kids!) it would have been a longer process.


No, well I didn’t. There’s an p.o.c. organizer with H.O.N. that signs off if someone shows up and signs in, in some cases. In others like mine, which is ongoing (GS Leader) I didn’t have to sign in as they know i’m giving the time so they just signed off on it.