For Good: Big Mac with a side of help for local Ronald McDonald House

When a McDonald’s drive-thru employee asks to round up your total for that Big Mac and fries, the question isn’t designed to add pennies to company coffers. Through August 16, McDonald’s establishments are rounding up For Good between the hours of 11 a.m.-2 p.m. The goal? To raise funds for the Ronald McDonald House Charity.

“This drive-thru challenge is the first of its kind, and we have a chance to raise over $1M for our regional charities,” says Chris Frost, who, along with his brother, John, operates eight McDonald’s locations in the Tampa Bay Area. 

It’s three weeks into the competition, and participating restaurants are 65% to goal. Franchisees from South Carolina all the way to Key West have joined the challenge, Frost says. As a member of the executive board and the finance committee for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Tampa Bay, he believes in caring for families in need. He points to members of his team who either have personally benefitted from RMHC assistance or know someone who has.

That personal connection inspires the team to exceed expectations -- and they are high for a reason. Though the pandemic has seemed all-encompassing to many, childhood illnesses persist. Cancer and other maladies still bombard the vulnerable, and families still need and embrace the help given by Ronald McDonald House assistance. With thousands of dollars of funding in donations lost due to shutdowns, the charity hopes reaching out through the drive-thru will fill the gap.

COVID-19 has meant many changes across the 501c3 organization. Social distancing guidelines translate to fewer families admitted to the house(s), which support the family unit of children who undergo treatment at hospitals nearby. Fundraisers, usually a predictable source of support, have been canceled indefinitely. Meals, customarily prepared and donated by volunteers, are being purchased instead.

“We all have a responsibility to care for the families that need us in their most desperate time,” Frost says. “This drive-thru challenge is so important; it’s a friendly competition for the best cause.”  

To participate in Drive Thru and Round-Up for RMHC, simply instruct a McDonald’s drive-thru employee to round a purchase to the nearest dollar – or that you’d like to donate a $1, $3, or $5 to RMHC. And then enjoy your breakfast, lunch, or dinner with a side of altruism. Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) operates more than 275 chapters in more than 65 countries and regions, and though the programs vary, the underlying theme is the same: to keep families together and offer easy access to health care. 

Discover more about the Ronald McDonald House Charities and RMHC chapters in the Tampa Bay Area.

Read more articles by Amy Hammond.

Amy Hammond is a freelance writer and author of children’s books that encourage the next generation to attend college. When not indoctrinating youth about the necessity of higher education, she enjoys exploring the paradise that is her St. Petersburg home. She holds a degree in Public Relations from the University of Florida and a Masters in Secondary English Education from the University of South Florida. Her work has appeared in such venues as the Tampa Bay Times. Children’s Book Titles by Amy Hammond include: When I Grow Up, I’ll Be a Gator; When I Grow Up, I’ll Be a ‘Nole; When I Grow Up, I’ll Be a Bull; When I Grow Up, I’m Bama Bound; When I Grow Up, I’ll Be a Tiger.
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