Our local, values-based natural food store is putting on a McDonalds Holiday Benefit. I knew times were tough for multinational corporations, what with the ever-escalating fight for who can pay the highest salary, but this seems a bit much.
Well, OK, that’s a bit deceptive. But, then so is the Ronald McDonald House that is the beneficiary of this event. Yes, it is a charity. And, yes, providing a hotel for families to stay in while other members of the family are undergoing medical treatment is noble, indeed. But, another big winner is McDonalds.
There is simply no way to separate the Ronald McDonald House Charity (RMHC) from the fast food chain. The trademarked symbol of every house features Ronald McDonald, a cartoon character invented to sell hamburgers. Every family that comes through the door is subjected to constant reminders of the connection to McDonalds, Ronald McDonald, and the Golden Arches. McDonalds is the single largest donor, and every house is funded and promoted by the local McDonalds. The sales of USA Today inside the store are all donated to RMHC. There is even a RMHC-themed McDonalds restaurant. And the website for the local RMHC is © 2005 – 2009 McDonald’s Corporation.
Don’t get me wrong. RMHC is a good charity, doing good service in many communities around the world. But, if McDonalds felt this was so important that it didn’t need to use it as a marketing tool, then they could have called them Missoula Hospital Family Stay. Oh, but wait, there is one: St. Patrick House, right near St. Patrick Hospital. (The Ronald McDonald House is on the campus of the Community Medical Center, and charges the same per night as the St. Patrick House.)
So, my question is why the Good Food Store wants to promote the charity arm of McDonalds? The Good Food Store is a “non-profit corporation dedicated to supporting a healthy community“. I’m not sure I understand how promoting McDonalds is supporting a healthy community. With a bit more forethought, they could have been doing a St. Patrick House Benefit or one for the St. Pat’s Women’s Care Center or the Rehabilitation Institute of Montana at Community Medical Center or the Watson Children’s Shelter.