“I used to volunteer at a Ronald McDonald House Charity local house,” adds Dr. Richard Bruno of the Department of Family and Preventative Medicine, Johns Hopkins University. “There’s no question that the charities do incredibly valuable work—I talked to families that were so thankful for charities. But for me the tragedy is that these charities are linked to a corporation that is driving the obesity epidemic.”
“McDonald’s is using a charity that helps sick kids to perpetuate a brand that makes kids sick,” he added.
Another part of the corporation’s self-serving philanthropy the report highlights is the recently scrutinized “McTeacher’s Nights”—events in which teachers work without pay at a local McDonald’s purportedly to raise funds for their schools. The report estimates that schools receive 15-20 percent of the profits from a three-to-four hour work shift.
But the rewards for the hours of selling and promoting the obesity-linked food turn out to about one dollar a child. Rewards for McDonald’s, however, include free labor and marketing in schools and to kids.
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The scrutiny of McDonald’s charity is warranted, the report states, because it “has evolved to also serve as a convenient distraction from harmful practices,” and the corporation uses PR to direct attention to its supposed generosity while simultaneously engaging lobbyists to “block the public health policy reforms that could prevent many of the very problems McDonald’s contributes to.”
“The time has come to decouple the McDonald’s brand and mascot from charities supported by so many other sources,” stated Sara Deon, spokesperson for Corporate Accountability International.
“It’s shameful for McDonald’s to continue to associate its brand—one synonymous with today’s public health crisis—with an important charity committed to children’s wellbeing,” stated Deon.
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