How buying a Big Mac can help Ronald McDonald House Charities accommodate a family that needs it

This weekend, Kiwis will have an opportunity to give back and relieve the pain and stress of families who need it most – simply by buying a Big Mac.

This Saturday (November 4) is McHappy Day, which means for every Big Mac sold nationwide, McDonald’s will donate $1 to Ronald McDonald House Charities NZ, an incredible charity providing accommodation for families with a child in a hospital away from home. 

You can also make a difference from now until McHappy Day in other ways, too – like buying a $1 McHappy Day sticker and putting it in the window of your local Macca’s, rounding your order up to the nearest dollar, or buying a bottle of Kiwi Blue water.

While these might seem small acts of giving back, their cumulative effect is enormous. Last year, McHappy Day in New Zealand raised an astounding $270,000, helping RMHC supply 1579 nights of accommodation, completely free, for families in need. 

Simon Kenny, McDonald's NZ's Head of Impact and Communications, says RMHC is the sort of charity where "you don't know how much you need it until you need it".

"Often, in these families, something happens very urgently with their child, and they require specialist care – there's an accident or a sudden diagnosis, and all of a sudden they're in a different city having just experienced a significant change in their life," he explains. 

'What RMHC does is say we've got a room for you, we've got a bed for you, we've got food, we've got all the basics of life, so that you can focus on what's important – supporting your child."

Wayne Howett, the CEO of RMHC New Zealand, says the boost McHappy Day gives to its mission of relieving stress for families who are already dealing with so much is "priceless". 

"Providing support and a place to sleep near our main hospitals in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch is what we do, including organising family meals and providing a friendly ear to listen on tough days.

"It's really exciting to have McHappy Day back for another year in New Zealand and the money raised, and awareness it creates, will be a huge help to our people around the country and the families they support." 

Kenny says the feedback from families who have received help from funds raised through past editions of McHappy Day is that it "helps take some the stress out of our lives" so they could focus their full attention on their child.

"That's a super cool thing. Often the families – once their kids have hopefully come through the other side of their illness or injury – they stay connected to the charity, because they know first-hand how important the support they got was during that period." 

The demand for accommodation support from families whose children are in hospital continues to grow, however, and that means RMHC needs funding now as much as ever.

The charity is looking to both expand its existing locations near hospitals in some of New Zealand's main centres, as well as build new facilities. 

You can help to make this a reality this Saturday, when $1 from each Big Mac sold on McHappy Day will go to RMHC, and in the 10-day period from October 25 to November 4, by buying a $1 McHappy Day sticker or rounding up your order with kiosk machines and Drive-Thru.

Every bottle of Kiwi Blue water bought at any time of the year sees another 20 cents to RMHC. 

At five restaurants around the country – Greenlane, Auckland; Princess Street, Palmerston North; Sydenham, Christchurch; Cnr High St and Raroa Road, Lower Hutt; and Frankton, Hamilton – there will also be in-store activations for families on McHappy Day.

"These will include entertainment, face painting and games for the kids, and special guest appearances," says Kenny. 

"RMHC is a family-focused charity, and McDonald's is a family brand – so we're just having a family fun day for people if they're out and about."

McDonald's NZ franchisees, crew and customers collectively raise more than $2 million for RMHC New Zealand each year. 

"McHappy Day is well established overseas as one of RMHC's biggest single fundraising initiatives,” says Kenny. “We are hoping our local McHappy Day will help provide even more support as demand for RMHC facilities continues to increase."

Article created in partnership with McDonalds.