Six years ago, a small group of Disney enthusiasts in Indianapolis decided to start a meet-up where they could get together and talk about all things Disney. At the time they had no idea that the event would eventually become a fundraiser that has donated over $20,000 to Give Kids The World.
The Indy Disney Meet started as a casual gathering for Midwestern fans of Disney. Throughout the years, and with the help of social media and friends from DIS Unplugged, the event has grown so much that they’ve had to change venues a few times to accommodate the number of attendees. People who come to the free event find the walls and tables covered in colors that resemble Mickey Mouse, character cutouts that people can take photos with and even the famous Dole Whip from the theme parks. The organizers try to give attendees the feeling of being in Orlando even though they’re a 1,000 miles away.
In 2009, the group decided to add a fundraising component to their meet when they discovered GKTW while participating in a local Muddy Buddy race and looking for a charity to sponsor. Throughout the years, they’ve become great ambassadors for GKTW, sharing our mission with everyone who attends. “Some of the people have never heard of GKTW until they come to the meet and we pull out pictures and tell them all about it, encouraging them to look into it. When they leave, they are just thrilled and want to start doing more for GKTW,” said Aaron DelPrince, one of the organizers of the event.
Aaron DelPrince, Theresa Sheingold and Chris Walthers from the Indy DIS Meet present their donation to GKTW.
The Indy DIS Meet has grown each time, and this year was their biggest yet with $8,600 raised for the Village! They attribute a lot of their success to the great community support they have been able to get, including over 50 items that were donated for their silent auction. Aaron and Chris Walthers, another event organizer, recently visited the Village to drop off their donation. It was Chris’s first time here and he was amazed at what he saw.
“It’s really a special place where you can lift the burden on the families and allow them to smile, be happy and laugh, even for a moment,” said Chris.
After their visit, they were inspired to start preparing for 2014’s meet even sooner so they can raise more money. They learned on their trip that it takes $5,000 to fulfill one wish, so their goal for next year is to raise $10,000 so they can support two wishes.
“When you walk around here you get a feeling of just generosity and you want to participate and do as much as you can to support this great place,” said Aaron.
Give Kids The World is so grateful to the Indy DIS Meet organizers and attendees for their continued support and generosity. We are honored by their efforts to raise both donations and awareness for our organization.