Make Every Day a McHappy Day by Helping a Ronald McDonald House

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It is not every day that I get to meet Ronald McDonald himself. Nor is it every day that I discover how insanely funny he is, or how "well-rounded" he and the organization he represents are.  He has shoes as long and round as watermelons! McDonald's, as we all know, has fast-food restaurants around the world. They also fund in part the Ronald McDonald Houses around the country, through the the sale of some McDonald's foods (i.e., fries and kids' meals). I knew that these houses helped families with very sick or injured children cope with long hospital stays, and have applauded their mission from afar. What I did not know was how multi-faceted their mission was, nor the varied ways that McDonald's supports it.

I had the opportunity, with other bloggers, to meet Ronald McDonald and his "support staff" in the Salt Lake Ronald McDonald House's new Educational Resource Center, which is a modern "one-room schoolhouse" for children trying to stay on top of their studies while they or their sibling is being treated at a local hospital. This "schoolhouse" provides a quiet place for kids to study with the help of computers and available volunteer tutors. That's one of those "now-that-you-mention-it,-that's-a-really-good-idea" kinds of things.

In fact, as we toured the facility, I realized it was just one of the many ways the House strives to be a home-away-from-home for families in difficult situations. In addition to the living quarters they provide at little or no cost, they provide also provide food, laundry, and recreation facilities. They also have an actual Ronald McDonald Family Room in one of the nearby hospitals, for parents to rest just steps from their child's bedside. They served over 1,800 families with these facilities last year, most of whom earned less than the national poverty wage standard.

Housing a family costs about $60 a night. The Ronald McDonald House Charities depend upon charitable donations and volunteer support from individuals, families, corporations, and foundations. McDonald's is the Charities' largest corporate donor, through in-restaurant fundraisers, McHappy Day (which is a world-wide annual fundraiser), gifts, and donation of advertising dollars and crew hours to create customer awareness.

McDonald's is in the middle of a national "call-to-action" in support of the Ronald McDonald House Charities. Through the 20th of this month, they're providing many different ways for customers to lend a hand:

“Give A Hand” fundraiser at McDonald’s:

Families can go into McDonald's restaurants through November 20 and buy a paper “Give A Hand” for $1; all proceeds are donated to RMHC. Click here for more information.

“Give A Hand” Social Media Photo Sweepstakes:

The new online photo sweepstakes invites customers, via McDonald’s USA Twitter handle (@McDonalds), to submit a photo of their hand with a written phrase that shows their support for RMHC. Each day, between November 10-20, one entrant will be selected at random to win $500 for themselves and McDonald’s will donate $500 for their local RMHC Chapter. Click here for more information.

“Make Family Time Happy Time.” online widget:

In celebration of family togetherness, McDonald’s invites you to pledge your family time together to the “Make Family Time Happy Time.” online widget via Facebook. For each minute pledged, McDonald’s USA will donate one penny to RMHC with a goal of reaching 1 million minutes, up to $10,000, towards the Charity’s programs. Click here for more information.

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