McHappy Day serves up smiles for 26th year in a row

GET HAPPY- (From Left) ROC Staff members Ben Wadsworth and Darlene Thompson, Picton McDonald's Manger John Clarke and administrative assistant Sarah Slatter, The ROC's Lindsay Ferguson and store owner Dan Doyle at the 2019 McHappy Day on Wednesday May 8. (Sarah Williams/Gazette Staff)




Big Macs, coffees and Happy Meals sold at the Picton McDonald’s on Wednesday have netted over $4,000 for a local youth organization as well as Ronald McDonald House Charities.

McDonald’s restaurants held their 26th annual McHappy Day across Canada with over 1,400 restaurants taking part including the local member of the international chain.

In total, $1 from every Big Mac, Happy Meal and hot McCafe beverage sold was divided up amongst the ROC and Ronald McDonald House, a charity that offers visiting families a chance to be near their loved ones undergoing medical treatment away from home.

Locally, the ROC was chosen at the 2019 McHappy Day beneficary. This youth facility began in 2000 as a vision of the potential in youth and a desire to help guide them through the major and recurring difficulties in their lives.

Prince Edward OPP Community Safety Officer Patrick Menard serves up some smiles with lunch at 2019 McHappy Day on Wed. May 8. (Submitted Photo)

“The funds raised will be used to support ROC programs at The PEC Youth Centre. We will be able to expand our FAM (Fix A Meal) Thursday program where youth come together to learn basic food preparation and nutritious meal selections skills while preparing a family meal for everyone at the youth centre,” said Darlene Thompson, Executive Director of The ROC. “Funds raised will also go to the Ride Home, a program that provides youth who live outside of Picton with transportation home from the Youth Centre.”

To help celebrate this day and raise awareness of the many children’s programs offered by the ROC, a variety of guests including municipal politicians and members of the Prince Edward Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police  attended McHappy day. They were joined by representatives from the ROC.

In Canada, 65 per cent of families live outside a city with a children’s hospital and must travel for treatment if their child is seriously ill. The RMHC network of programs in Canada helps to keep more than 25,000 families close to their sick child and the care they need each year. The 15 Ronald McDonald houses provide out-of-town families with a home to stay at while their child is being treated at a nearby hospital, while the 16 Ronald McDonald Family Rooms provide a comfortable place for families to rest and recharge from within the hospital.

Sarah Slatter, Administrative Assistant of the local McDonald’s, spoke to the Gazette once the celebrations had ended and McHappy Day was over for yet another year.

“It was an amazing day!” She enthused, “We could not have asked for a better charity to raise money for than the ROC.”

In regards to the success of this year’s fundraising efforts, Slatter said, “It was a great turnout from our community and we cannot thank them enough. We beat our total from 2016 when the ROC was our recipient, which is terrific!”

“We are thrilled,” said Thompson, “It is encouraging to see the ROC and the services we provide PEC youth reach this level of recognition.”

By the end of the day, McDonald’s had raised a total of $4,149.33.

Aside form the monetary value of this fundraising effort, it is a clear example of how a community can help others while satiating their appetites through acts of kindness.

In addition to McHappy Day, the ROC has the annual ROC ‘N Revue this week. The Revue, a benefit concert from which all proceeds go to programs at the youth centre, will be held May 16th at The Regent Theatre.