There’s no disguising the fact that many of our attractions and businesses have suffered badly during the COVID-19 pandemic, but it is equally true that our tourist industry has found ways to cope and find new paths for navigating the current crisis. Some, though, need extra help to ensure they can come back as strong and vital as when they were forced to shut down, and this is especially true of the Give Kids the World Village in Kissimmee.
By Susan & Simon Veness
You’ll have to excuse us if we get a little misty-eyed about the wonderful spirit and ethos of GKTW, but it is a cause we have gotten to know well over the years and remains close to our hearts as one of the most deserving charities in Central Florida.
It was therefore with huge sadness that we received last week’s notice about the 84-acre Village being forced to indefinitely prolong its current shut-down in the face of the restrictions being imposed by the virus.
President and CEO Pamela Landwirth explained, “It is heart-wrenching, but the safety, well-being and health of our very vulnerable children and families are our utmost priorities. And, at this point, we just don’t know when it will be safe for them to travel, when it will be safe to be in places with large groups.”
The Village has inevitably had to lay off many staff with this latest announcement after initially being able to pay employees and cover benefits.
But the financial viability of GKTW is still at stake, which is where we hope you come in. As Landwirth added, “Other nonprofits don’t have a resort where they have to continue maintenance and landscaping. So, even though we’ll be closed, we still need that financial support more than ever so we can be ready for when we come back.”
Which is why we are starting the week with a direct fund-raising appeal to help support Give Kids the World Village and the wonderful work it does. Please take time to read the GKTW prospectus here and then see if you can add to our special Donation button with this post:
Please take a look and find a few dollars to help out. It will certainly be much appreciated.
Editor’s Note: Susan & Simon Veness freelance write for a number of publications, ours included. But here they write on behalf of the Central Florida Tourism Collective, a group they formed, and in which we are a part of, that aims to give visitors a reassuring message of life in the heart of the Sunshine State during these unprecedented times.