Marlton, NJ— On the 15th Anniversary of the founding of Autism Speaks, Cherry Hill Programs presented a donation check to Autism Speaks totaling $421,049 thanks to the generosity of Santa’s guests from November through December 2019. Since 2014, Cherry Hill Programs has raised more that $1.15 million dollars in support of Autism Speaks from customers visiting during the annual Santa and Bunny photography experiences.
Cherry Hill Programs began its partnership with Autism Speaks in an effort to demonstrate “the heart of Santa” through a series of coordinated national event dates that provide unique opportunities for guests with physical, intellectual and developmental needs to visit with Santa in a more-subdued atmosphere. “Due to market demand, this past holiday season Cherry Hill Programs and our retail partners hosted an astonishing 717 sensory-friendly events at 559 locations across the U.S. and 46 events at 28 locations in Canada,” according to Matt Windt, chief marketing officer for Cherry Hill Programs.
During these events adjustments are made to the normal shopping mall experience to provide a calming environment and reduce potential behavioral triggers, allowing many individual and families to share a traditional visit with Santa for the first time.
In addition to coordinating national events across the country, Cherry Hill Programs associates requested voluntary donations from customers during each purchase at its nearly 900 holiday photography experiences throughout the U.S. and Canada. “Year after year our customers demonstrate tremendous generosity and willingness to support our partners at Autism Speaks, and all of us at Cherry Hill Programs are incredibly proud of the philanthropic platform we have built in connection with our Santa and Bunny experiences,” Windt added.
“We are so fortunate to have Cherry Hill Programs as our partner in this critical work,” said Angela Geiger, President and CEO of Autism Speaks. “Your support inspires and energizes us in our relentless pursuit of solutions for the needs of people with autism.”
During the months ahead Cherry Hill Programs will again provide a platform for giving as the company offers spring holiday photos with the Bunny through Sunday, April 12th, at destination shopping centers, malls and resorts nationwide. National “sensory-friendly” event dates will be announced in February 2020, promoted on the company’s website, www.WhereIsBunny.com, and on Autism Speaks' website and social media accounts. Donations benefiting Autism Speaks will be accepted in-store.
About Cherry Hill Programs
Cherry Hill Programs represents 59 years of holiday tradition as the industry-leader and most respected pioneer in the experiential photo industry. Cherry Hill Programs operates photography experiences for the young and young-at-heart in hundreds of premier retail and resort venues across the U.S. and Canada during the Christmas and Easter seasons, utilizing innovative technology and authentic holiday characters. Visit www.WhereIsSanta.com and www.WhereIsBunny.com to find a holiday Santa or Bunny photography experience near you, make a reservation, find money-saving coupons, and retrieve the digital images of your visit; or visit www.cherryhillprograms.com to learn more about partnering with Cherry Hill Programs.
About Autism Speaks
Autism Speaks is dedicated to promoting solutions, across the spectrum and throughout the life span, for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. We do this through advocacy and support; increasing understanding and acceptance of people with autism spectrum disorder; and advancing research into causes and better interventions for autism spectrum disorder and related conditions. To find resources, join an event or make a donation, go to www.AutismSpeaks.org.
Autism, or autism spectrum disorder, refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication. We now know that there is not one autism but many subtypes, and each person with autism can have unique strengths and challenges. A combination of genetic and environmental factors influence the development of autism, and autism often is accompanied by medical issues such as GI disorders, seizures and sleep disturbances. Autism affects an estimated 1 in 59 children.