McHappy Day brought many individuals and local celebrities together to raise money for the Ponoka Elementary School (PES) playground committee and the effort paid off with $3,000. being raised for the kids’ recess-time entertainment.
One dollar from every Big Mac, Happy Meal, ice cream cone or any hot McCafe beverage sold at the Ponoka McDonalds Wednesday, May 6 went directly to supporting the purchase of equipment for and construction of a brand new playground for PES students.
As students have made their way into their new school, much of the playground amenities could not be relocated as they were too old to be moved. As students are not allowed to use old equipment in the old playground, the elementary school is having to stagger when kids are allowed to use equipment that is still considered usable.
Playground committee member Layna Palecheck said she was excited to be picked as the local charity for the McHappy Day fundraiser.
Palechek said the biggest challenge teachers face is giving students an opportunity to use the existing equipment but also ensure proper supervision. Teachers are alternating students’ lunch and recess times.
During the McHappy Day, customers could also buy special cardboard shoes or bags to increase the money going to the project.
“We’re getting closer to our goal and it’s more of a reality for me for the playground now that the kids are at their new school. So we’re working as hard as we can,” said Palecheck.
Melissa Manalo, assistant manager at Ponoka’s McDonalds says she enjoys McHappy Day. “It’s a fun day and gives us a way to reach out to the community.”
That community support is strong and Manalo says staff are twice as busy as usual during the day. She enjoys bringing in community members as they help serve customers. Those community members also get to be part of the team and have a chance to see behind the scenes at the fast food restaurant.
“They see that we are selling healthy, hot and fresh products,” said Manalo.