Frank Knittel has been working with the Disney VoluntEARS since the program began 12 years ago. He serves on the VoluntEARS Leadership Council and has been for several years. Mr. Knittel is also on the Development Committee for Project Angel Food in Los Angeles which delivers meals to people living with HIV or AIDS and other life threatening diseases.
Mr. Knittel was introduced to Camp Ronald McDonald for Goodtimes around 1991. After working their Christmas party and after making a visit to their Camp for a summer session, he decided to start volunteering on a regular basis. Camp Ronald McDonald for Goodtimes is a camp for children with cancer. Mr. Knittel became a Camp Counselor for several summer and winter sessions and still continues to have a relationship with this non-profit today. He helps at their Christmas Party and Halloween Fund raising events.
Mr. Knittel had no idea that this experience of volunteering would have such a great impact on his life. As a matter of fact, he became so passionate about volunteering that in 1996 he was named “Disney VoluntEARS of the Year” because of his community outreach efforts. In 2003, Mr. Knittel logged in more than 100 volunteer hours, working through the Disney VoluntEARS program and several non-profit agencies on his own.
When you ask him why he volunteers, it’s sometimes hard for him to answer. He replies “because I can! It gets you out of yourself when you realize that you really can make a difference in the lives of people less fortunate then yourself. I have seen the smiles on faces of the elderly when I have the opportunity to deliver their meals through our St. Vincent’s Meals on Wheels program, I might be the only person they see all day. It’s the same with delivering meals for Project Angel Food.”
Mr. Knittel has seen children and their parents being so appreciative to the VoluntEARS for coming out to Red Cross Shelters after the recent fires in California and to see the children at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles during a recent visit after the holidays, light up when they walk in to spend time with the children and bring along some of our favorite characters.
Mr. Knittel has worked many events over the years and has seen how volunteering really does impact other people’s lives, especially around the holidays when you are out there feeding people, it really does make a difference. In 1995 Mr. Knittel worked with Frontline, an organization that delivers meals to the homeless. He and some of the other VoluntEARS would go to Hollywood Blvd. every Sunday with bag lunches they had made for more than 100 homeless people, which was really something special for him.
Mr. Knittel has been a Disney Team Leader for AIDS Walk Los Angeles for several years signing people up to participate in their fundraising program. He’s also been a Revlon Run/Walk for Women Disney Team Leader for several years, too. This event takes place every year in May the day before Mother’s Day. This event raises funds to fight against breast and ovarian cancer. When asked why he participates with the Revlon Run/Walk event, he replies: “I have a mother, aunts, two sisters, nieces and cousins who are all very special to me and each one in their own way have been very influential in my life. So, if any one of them was every stricken with this disease, I would hope there were men and women out there volunteering their time to help with raising funds in order to help beat this disease.”