First Ever McHappy Day for the H&R MFRC
By Sarah-Jean Mannette,
Halifax & Region MFRC
Wednesday, May 2, was not an ordinary Wednesday. It was McHappy Day®, an annual one-day fundraising event held by McDonald’s restaurants across Canada to raise money for Ronald McDonald Houses and other local charities.
It was not ordinary at all; it was an extraordinary day for the Halifax & Region Military Family Resource Centre (H&R MFRC), and most importantly, for military families in the area. For the first time ever, a portion of McHappy Day® proceeds from the McDonald’s Kempt Road and Pleasant Street locations went to the H&R MFRC.
Peter MacIsaac, McDonald’s franchisee of five locations, including Kempt Road and Pleasant Street, was grateful for the opportunity to raise awareness of the H&R MFRC and to continue to support military families in the area. “With our restaurants being located so close to CFB Halifax and 12 Wing Shearwater, allocating a portion of proceeds to the H&R MFRC made perfect sense.”
Shelley Hopkins, executive director of the H&R MFRC, was thrilled when MacIsaac approached the Centre about McHappy Day. “The H&R MFRC has been supporting military families for over 30 years, and this is the first time we have had the opportunity to be part of McHappy Day. Our partnership with McDonald’s is a great way to support military families and raise the profile of the H&R MFRC.”
“There are approximately 10,000 military members and families in the area we serve and we want them to see themselves in the Centre. We are their MFRC,” Hopkins said. The H&R MFRC supports Regular and Reserve Force CAF members, medically releasing CAF and Veterans families, within Halifax and region, Shearwater and Central and Northern Nova Scotia, including Cape Breton.
From a combination of cash donations and proceeds from every Big Mac, Happy Meal, and hot McCafé beverage purchased during McHappy Day®, the H&R MFRC received $5,292.50. These funds will directly support upgrades to the youth centres, including youth programming.
H&R MFRC youth programs provide a safe and structured environment for youth ages, 8 to 18, to learn valuable skills, discover new interests, and connect with other youth from military families. Programming, which is generally held at the youth centres, include fun activities like Royal Heist Escape Room, educational opportunities such as Cooking in the Kitchen and Leaders in Training. Summer camps are also offered at both youth centres.
In addition to the donations received, McHappy Day® gave staff and volunteers of the H&R MFRC chance to connect with the community. In their red shirts, they called out order numbers, assisted customers in the restaurants, gathered donations, and raised awareness about the ways in which the H&R MFRC supports military families.
Commander of 12 Wing Shearwater, Col Sid Connor and Wing Chief CWO David Hepditch handed out orders inside the Pleasant Street location, while CFB Halifax Base Commander Capt(N) Paul Forget, Base Chief CPO1 David Steeves, and Hopkins worked the Kempt Road drive-thru.
When interviewed by Live 105 Halifax, part of which was aired, Col Connor stressed the importance of the H&R MFRC, “They provide outstanding support to military families, which is essential so that CAF members can focus on their work – knowing their family is taken care of back at home.”
“The support was overwhelming,” said Capt(N) Forget. “The generosity shows just how tightly knit our community is and the desire people have to support military families.” For Capt(N) Forget, being at the helm, even just for a few hours, brought back fond memories. “I worked at McDonald’s as a teenager. It was a great experience. Although the technology has changed, a Big Mac is a Big Mac!”
Hopkins added, “We sincerely thank everyone who supported McHappy Day® and to John MacIsaac and the amazing staff at the Kempt Road and Pleasant Street locations. They were outstanding and so helpful.”
The H&R MFRC is a not-for-profit, charitable organization, governed by a volunteer Board of Directors made up of a minimum of 51 per cent military family members. Supporting military families since 1986, the mission of the H&R MFRC is to strengthen the wellbeing of all those who share the unique experience of military life. The H&R MFRC customizes its programs to meet the changing needs of military families, and focus on: mental health & well-being, education & employment, relocation, personal development, deployment, veteran family transition support, as well as child, youth and parenting. For more information on the H&R MFRC, please visit: http://www.halifaxmfrc.ca.
The H&R MFRC Annual General Meeting
Join us Wednesday, June 20, 4-6:30pm at the Halifax Site MFRC for light refreshments from 4-5pm, followed by the Annual General Meeting, from 5-6:30pm. Connect with your MFRC and military community, hear about the cool things we’ve done this past year and elect next year’s Board of Directors. There is no cost and all military members and their families are welcome. Childcare is available. Call 902-427-7788 to register for child care by Friday, June 15.