We regularly share our reviews of Universal Orlando hotels. Today, we want to shine a light on what Loews Hotels Orlando does in partnership with the U.S. Hunger Project.
Each year, U.S. Hunger and Loews Hotels Orlando partner to put on an event on the Saturday following Thanksgiving. Held at all Loews Hotels at Universal Orlando, volunteers come together to box up bags of food to provide for those in need. Repeat volunteer Darcie Vance shares her experience with us.
Volunteers sign up for 1-hour time slots at their preferred hotel a few weeks before the event, with the possibility of signing up for more than 1 hour or staying extra if they decide they are enjoying the experience. The event is posted on the U.S. Hunger website, as well as the Facebook pages for the respective hotels. On the designated day, volunteers park for free at each hotel.
What to expect: Volunteers work together to package jambalaya ingredients. When signing up for an event, you are asked to wear comfortable clothing and closed-toed shoes. U.S. Hunger has an assembly line at tables, usually in the hotel lobby.
At each table, about 10 people will work together to package as many jambalaya bags as possible within the 1-hour slot. Four people will scoop the food (salt, dried vegetables, rice, and lentils) into bags that are then weighed and put into a box for future delivery. To encourage fast-paced packing, there is a D.J. who plays upbeat music and gets the crowd moving.
Each hotel has a snack break area set up for people to get water, soda, tea, and light refreshments either before or after their shift. This year, volunteers helped to pack 270,000 meals, which will be delivered to those in need within the Orlando community.
Who can volunteer: This year, when volunteering, our table had a family of four with two young boys (ages 6 and 8). The boys were great helpers and were able to keep up with the adults. In years past, I have seen Boy Scout troops and young cheerleaders attend as groups. There are usually a lot of Loews and Universal Orlando Team Members who volunteer.
High School students in need of community volunteer hours can pick up a form at the check-in desk to get credit for hours served. The 2023 event was the 10th Annual Loews Giveback Weekend, and to date, 3.27 million meals have been packaged over the last decade.
If you are visiting or living in Orlando, you may want to consider helping at next year’s event, held from 9 a.m. to noon. Additional information about U.S. Hunger can be found by visiting ushunger.org.
Here are reviews of the Universal Orlando hotels we have done in the past. Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites and Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Surfside Inn and Suites (rooms start at $99 per night), Universal’s Aventura Hotel and Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort (starting at $145 per night), and Loews Sapphire Falls Resort (with rates starting at $212).
Staying at one of the Premier Hotels allows you to skip the regular lines at participating rides and attractions at Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure. That’s a value of $164.99 per person per day. (Valid theme park admission is required; not valid at Universal’s Volcano Bay.) The three Premier hotels are Loews Royal Pacific Resort (with rates starting at $328), the Hard Rock Hotel ($377 and up), and Loews Portofino Bay Hotel (with room rates starting at $392).
For all there is to see and do at Universal Orlando, check out The Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando. If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to our YouTube channel and sign up for our newsletter here. Be sure to follow us on Threads, X, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube.