Jacksonville, Fla. (March 31, 2015) – McDonald’s restaurants in northeast Florida and southeast Georgia*** are launching a new program that empowers families to give a meal to a local child who does not know where his or her next meal is coming from, with McDonald’s picking up the tab. In January, the U.S. Census Bureau released that 16 million—or one in five children—were on food stamps in 2014, the highest number since the nation’s economy tumbled in 2008*. McDonald’s “Buy One, Give One Happy Meal” program inspires families to purchase a Happy Meal on the first Wednesday of every month, with McDonald’s matching that purchase with a donation of a second Happy Meal to a local food bank to give to a local child who is food insecure.

“In our area alone, nearly 25 percent of children are food insecure—this is alarming, and we are doing something about it,” said Will Garcia, local McDonald’s owner/operator.** “We have selected community organizations that are committed to putting food directly into the mouths of those who need it most. Through Buy One, Give One Happy Meals, we at McDonald’s can do our part to provide these children in need with a meal, and also empower our customers to be part of the giving and understand the problem they are helping address.”

The Buy One, Give One Happy Meal program takes place on the first Wednesday of every month at all participating area McDonald’s restaurants from April through June. For each Happy Meal purchase made on the first Wednesday of the month, McDonald’s will donate Happy Meal redemption cards to several local non-profit organizations that collectively reach all parts of the northeast Florida and southeast Georgia*** area:
• Feeding Northeast Florida (FNEFL), serving the greater northeast Florida area
• Bread of the Mighty Food Bank, serving the greater Gainesville area
• Second Harvest of Coastal Georgia, serving the greater southeast Georgia area
• Second Harvest of South Georgia, serving the greater south Georgia area

Children are encouraged to be part of the giving through Buy One, Give One Happy Meal by writing their name on a paper cutout which will be posted in the restaurant then provided to the partner organizations along with the Happy Meal redemption cards so families can “feel the love” from their fellow community members.

“No other product represents children and food quite like a Happy Meal, and now more than ever, Happy Meals provide wholesome choices such as apple slices, low-fat yogurt, and low-fat or fat-free milk,” said Garcia. “We are committed to being a good neighbor and because of our breadth throughout the area, we are in a unique position to help address this need in our community during 2015.”

McDonald’s of northeast Florida and southeast Georgia will be giving away at least 25,500 Happy Meals during the next three months through the Buy One, Give One Happy Meal campaign, with the possibility of continuing the campaign further.

“We’re concerned with hunger throughout our 17 counties, and one of our key initiatives is reaching students in need through programs like our SnackPack Wednesdays program introduced in several Duval County Schools last year,” said Bruce Ganger, president and CEO of Feeding Northeast Florida. “Of the more than 322,000 people who turn to our local food pantries each year, 29 percent of those are children under the age of 18. Programs like McDonald’s Buy One, Give One Happy Meal campaign will have a positive impact on our ability to ensure our children who are facing hunger can receive a nutritious meal every day.”

Customers can follow McDonald’s of northeast Florida and southeast Georgia*** at @McD_Jax and @McD_Gainesville.

* United States Census Bureau press release “One in Five Children Receive Food Stamps, Census Bureau Reports
**http://www.feedingnefl.org/hunger-in-america-fnefl-study/
***McDonald’s of northeast Florida and southeast Georgia includes 18 counties: Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Camden, Charlton, Clay, Columbia, Dixie, Duval, Gilchrist, Glynn, Levy, Nassau, Pierce, Putnam, St. Johns, Suwannee and Ware.

About McDonald’s
McDonald’s USA, LLC, serves a variety of menu options made with quality ingredients to more than 27 million customers every day. Nearly 90 percent of McDonald’s 14,000 U.S. restaurants are independently owned and operated by businessmen and women. Customers can now log online for free at approximately 11,500 participating Wi-Fi enabled McDonald’s U.S. restaurants. For more information, visit www.mcdonalds.com, or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

About Feeding Northeast Florida
Feeding Northeast Florida (FNEFL) distributes food to people who struggle to feed themselves and their families across 17 Northeast Florida counties through a network of more than 150 nonprofit, faith-based and charitable organizations. FNEFL is an affiliate of Feeding America, a nationwide network of more than 200 food banks that lead the fight against hunger in the United States. The most recent localized survey from the 2014 Hunger in America report shows that 38,000 people are served each week by programs supported by FNEFL. To donate, volunteer or find out more about eliminating hunger in Northeast Florida, visit www.feedingnefl.org or contact 904-513-1333.

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For more information:
Joe Wolf, Dalton Agency
jwolf@daltonagency.com
Cell: 904.910.4454

Ron Whittington, FNEFL
ron@whittingtonandassociates.com
Cell: 904.563.0402