KISSIMMEE, Fla. – It was an extra-sweet day Tuesday at Give Kids The World in Kissimmee.
A semitrailer stuffed with snacks and candy donated by vendors at the National Confectioners Association's Sweets & Snack Expo confectioners conference in Chicago arrived at the Central Florida location and was given to more than 100 excited children and their families.
"We actually propped the candy up against the doors and opened it up, and the kids ran for the candy, so it was a lot of fun this morning," said Mark Hoewing, public relations manager at Give Kids The World.
Give Kids The World is a 70-acre, nonprofit "storybook" resort where children with life-threatening illnesses and their families are treated to a free weeklong vacation.
A moving company from Chicago donated its supplies and time to drive the truckload of sweets and snacks 22 hours from Chicago to Kissimmee.
"It's a great feeling. I'm blessed by having healthy kids and not having to go through some of the things the families here are. But it feels great to help the families that are in need like that," said Dan Boerman, vice president of operations for Boerman moving and storage.
Sophie Dewitt, 4, who's battling leukemia, and her brother, Connor, 7, are visiting from South Dakota, but her illness and treatments take a back seat to simply having fun.
Sophie told Local 6, with a big smile on her face, that cotton candy is her favorite kind of candy and she found some on the truck.
"What we wanted to do is make sure it was something the kids could enjoy as well. We didn't want to just stuff it in the warehouse and let it go," Hoewing said.
Hoewing said the donation will last more than a year and will be used at weekly Halloween parties and other special events for children.