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COVID-19 forces Give Kids the World to lay off staff as village remains closed until further notice

Layoffs take effect June 27, CEO says

Image: Give Kids The World Village.
Image: Give Kids The World Village. (WKMG)

KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Give Kids The World will remain closed until further notice, forcing the organization to lay off most of its staff, according to officials with the Kissimmee nonprofit.

Give Kids the World Village is a nonprofit resort in Central Florida that relies on the theme parks and its partnership with The Make-A-Wish-Foundation to make the dreams of children with critical illnesses come true, according to its website.

President and CEO Pamela Landwirth said in an email to village members Tuesday that the extended closure was directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced Central Florida’s theme parks and other attractions to close beginning in March.

“The Make-A-Wish Foundation, our majority wish-granting partner, unexpectedly notified us that due to COVID-19, it would not be scheduling any wishes that involve travel or large groups, until a vaccine is in wide use,” Landwirth said in the email. “In addition, although the theme parks are reopening, we are uncertain as to when they will be able to welcome vulnerable guests, including our wish children.”

Due to the extended closure, Landwirth said the nonprofit must lay off a majority of its staff. The layoffs will take effect Saturday, June 27, according to her email.

[HELP GRANT A WISH: Donate to Give Kids the World]

Landwirth said some staff members will remain employed to maintain the safety and security of the village and to continue nurturing relationships with families, donors, alumni and other volunteers to prepare for the organization’s eventual reopening.

She said if there is a “rush wish” prior to the nonprofit’s reopening, the village will do everything it can to grant it with the help of its partners.

Landwirth did not say how soon the nonprofit would try to reopen but that her team would work to do it as soon as it could.

“I can promise you that I will work tirelessly to find a way to reopen our beloved village as soon as possible,” she said.

Click here to learn more about the organization.

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