Caleb Gozjolko volunteers at McHappy Day last year in Vernon, his way of giving back after staying at Ronald McDonald House for eight months while receiving treatment for cancer. (Morning Star file photo)

McHappy Day makes a difference

Some special smiles will be served up with an annual tradition across Canada, and locally Wednesday.

“On May 3rd, McDonald’s restaurants in Vernon will join more than 1,400 restaurants across the country to celebrate McHappy Day,” said Natasha Sellers, Vernon/Armstrong manager.

This year marks the 24th annual McHappy Day in McDonald’s Canada since its inception in 1977.

It is the company’s longest-running and best-known national fundraising event. Since its inception, the event has raised more than $56 million for Ronald McDonald House Charities Canada, the Ronald McDonald Houses and hundreds of other local children’s charities.

“At the heart of our community commitment is RMHC Canada, which is dedicated to giving sick children the one thing they need most, their families, by supporting Ronald McDonald Houses and Ronald McDonald Family Rooms across the country,” said Sellers.

RMHC provides families of sick children with a home-away-from-home or a place of peace and calm within a hospital.

On Wednesday, May 3, $1 from every Big Mac sandwich, Happy Meal and hot McCafé beverage sold will go to local children’s charities across the country, such as Ronald McDonald House.

In Vernon, all funds raised will be donated to the Ronald McDonald House in Vancouver.

Those visiting the north end McDonald’s location will also be in for a treat as some local celebrities will be lending a hand for the cause.

“It is a time-honoured McHappy Day tradition for civic and community leaders to join us in our restaurants to celebrate this special day with our customers,” said Sellers, as previous years have featured Mayor Akbal Mund running the drive-through window, local firefighters manning the grill and Morning Star staff pouring beverages.

Although small in size, the biggest celebrity last year was Caleb Gozjolko. The then five-year-old volunteered at McHappy Day in Vernon, as a way of giving back after staying at Ronald McDonald House for eight months while receiving treatment for cancer at age three. He will be back again this year lending a hand again at the north end McDonald’s.