On a chilly Saturday full of rainy sprinkles, Universal Studios Hollywood brought its charity event "Christmas in Spring" to low-income families for a 26th year at the Meet Each Need with Dignity facility in the San Fernando Valley.
Universal employees volunteered to spend the day at M.E.N.D., sponsored by the company's "Discover a Star" Foundation, which provides grants to organizations helping neighborhoods.
Universal's Director of Community Relations, Dorothea Scattaglia, says it's important for a company to give back to the community, and is proud of what Universal has accomplished.
"We pick organizations that we think our employees will connect with, because to us, that's what makes the program so rich with meaning. We're not here to check something off a list. We're here because this is what we really want to do," she said. "We have a culture of giving."
Outdoors, families enjoyed carnival games from basketball and ringtoss to music by a live DJ. Characters like Dora, SpongeBob, the Minions, and Shaggy and Scooby shared dances and photo opportunities. Inside, children took photos with Santa and cuddled with stuffed animal toys they could take home from Universal's animated film "The Secret Life of Pets."
Other activities allowed children to spend time with family and meet others over arts and crafts, face painting and a book corner.
Scattaglia said it's important for the company to host charity events mid-year.
"There's not a huge amount of outpour of support this time of the year. Everyone comes out to help during the holidays, and it's great, but during this time of the year, we're here, and we're here for them all the time."
M.E.N.D. is one of many philanthropic partners Universal Studios Hollywood has. Charity events take place throughout the year with different partnerships in LA.
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