On May 6, Universal Studios Hollywood partnered with M.E.N.D. (Meet Each Need with Dignity) to bring joy and hope to low income families. For 26 years Universal has held Christmas in Spring, which brought families together to enjoy a few hours of fun, entertainment and food.

As families entered the M.E.N.D property they were made to feel like stars. Each guest was given a special badge that gained entry into the exclusive event. From there each person was given a bag for all of the goodies and souvenirs they would collect throughout the day.

The event was spread out into seven areas:

  • The Book Corner: Kids 12 and under were able to collect free books.
  • Face Painting: Santa’s elves were on hand to paint the faces of those who were young or the young at heart.
  • Arts and Crafts: This section was sponsored by another great foundation, “A Window Between Worlds, a non-profit group that’s dedicated to using art as a healing tool to empower and transform individuals and communities impacted by violence and trauma, while inspiring women and children to recover a sense of renewal and independence through creative expression” according to the Universal press release.
  • Carnival Games: Those in attendance were able to play four different carnival games, where they were given a chance to win prizes. The prizes were toys and collectables you would be able to purchase in the theme park.
  • DJ Dance and Games: Kids were encouraged to come play games and won prizes for placing during each event.
  • Lunch: Everyone enjoyed a fully catered meal served by Universal Studios Hollywood volunteers.
  • Santa Meet and Greet: Families were invited to have a family photo taken with Santa Claus. After meeting Santa, families were given a free photo and then were given a choice between two plush toys from the film Secret Life of Pets.

As the guests were traversing throughout the day, some of Universal Studios Hollywood’s most famous characters came out to interact with families: Shaggy and Scooby Doo, Spongebob Squarepants, Dora The Explorer, and those loveable Minions.

Over 15,000 individuals have been able to benefit over the course of the 26 years of the event. It’s wonderful to see so many team members volunteer their time to help those that are less fortunate.

If you’d like more information regarding M.E.N.D., be sure to check out their website http://mendpoverty.org

You can view the rest of the pictures from the event in the gallery below!