McDo serves hope on World Children’s Day
- From the Philippine Star’s YS () - November 23, 2002 - 12:00am
Ronald McDonald, he with the striped red and yellow jumpsuit, gigantic shoes, the brightest smile and big heart, serves hope to children in need throughout the world. About 30,000 McDonald’s restaurants in over 121 countries, in a poignant gesture of oneness to better the lives of millions of children, spearheaded a major fund-raising initiative called World Children’s Day last Nov. 20.

The simultaneous history-making activity coincided with the anniversary of the United Nations adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Funds raised will primarily benefit McDonald’s charity arm, Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) and other local children’s causes.

Grassroots-driven, RMHC is a non-profit organization devoted to creating, finding and supporting programs that directly improve the health and well-being of children with cornerstone programs Ronald McDonald House and Ronald McDonald Care Mobile.

Activities varied by country from the day-long children’s festival and concert in Mexico, to the sunrise celebration in New Zealand, to the distribution of meals to homeless children in Russia.

In the Philippines, 50 cents of every Happy Meal bought on that day automatically went to RMHC, which in turn will provide grants to children’s projects and causes. To date, McDonald’s has already presented a total of P30 million worth of grants on important childcare and welfare initiatives of different organizations.

McDonald’s donated 30,000 school kits to selected public schools, inaugurated the first of its Bahay Bulilit Day-Care Centers in East Rembo, Makati City and launched its Wishing Tree, where kids can scribble down and hang their wishes on Christmas trees found in all McDo outlets.

Prior to the World Children’s Day event, several high-profile activities were also held. Over 20,000 children along with their parents were treated to a whole day of fun by Ronald McDonald and his best buddies, Grimace, Hamburglar, and Birdy at Star City in Roxas Boulevard last Nov. 16.

Dubbed as "It’s Ronald’s Grand Carnival Day!" the event kicked off with a fun run, drawing 150 kids, the youngest of whom, cradled by the supportive mother, was only eight-days-old. Celebrity mother Gretchen Barretto and graced the ribbon-cutting. A magical show and musical-play were staged at Aliw Theater, where Ronald entranced kids once again with his trademark tricks and talents.

Subsidized by McDonald’s, the tickets were available at McDo outlets and sold cheaper at P200 to P100 apieace.

McDo held a charity ball at Makati Shangri-La Hotel on Nov. 18, that featured by Boy Abunda, Ogie Alcasid, Regine Velasquez, Mandaluyong Children’s Choir, Whiplash, Lynn Sherman with the Ugoy-Ugoy Band and McDo endorser, Megastar Sharon Cuneta who sang the World Children’s Day official song, Aren’t They all Our Children by Grammy award-winning David Foster and originally interpreted by international diva Celine Dion.

This effort, which is a teamup with UNICEF, is a display of the trademark Ronald McDonald magic: giving kids a reason to smile.

"For Ronald McDonald, magic is not merely turning hankies into bunnies or coins into doves. It’s not as easy as cracking a joke or performing a funny act. Rather a magical day is being with the kids, making them happy and seeing them smile," Kenneth Yang, president of Ronald McDonald House of Charities said. Perhaps the McDonald’s World Children’s Day special song says it best: "Every boy and girl/Should dance on dreams/Around this world/ Aren’t they all our children after all."

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