Cool idea for cold drinks raises $2M for RMHC Houses
Robin Eliott’s dedication to Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) started 30 years ago, in the process of becoming a McDonald’s owner/operator.
For the first leg of her training as a registered applicant, Robin worked at a McDonald’s restaurant in a children’s hospital in Dayton, Ohio, a location visited by patients and their families.
“It absolutely broke my heart to see those kids every day,” she says, describing the experience as one she barely managed to get through emotionally. However, it kickstarted Robin’s years of service that followed, including a term on the local RMHC Chapter board and many fundraising activities helping to advance the RMHC organizational vision: to provide families with sick children access to vital care and resources all over the world.
Now Robin and owner/operators across the country are poised to raise $1.6 million for RMHC Chapters from 2019 through 2020, thanks to an idea that she and fellow Cincinnati owner/operator Gloria Noday (now retired) brought to life.
In partnership with Coca-Cola, Robin and Gloria spearheaded Sleeves for Support, a promotion to offer customers the chance to buy insulated cup sleeves for cold drinks, with a portion of all proceeds benefitting local RMHC Chapters.
After a successful launch with Ohio and Kentucky owner/operators in 2019, the promotion expanded to 19 co-ops in 2020 and another is slated to complete it in January 2021, representing almost 40 percent of US restaurants.
The cup sleeves, made of coated neoprene and sold for $5 each, keep cold drinks colder for longer, prevent cups from sweating with condensation and are sized to fit into most vehicle cup holders.
Proceeds from Sleeves for Support in participating markets, including regions in Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Pennsylvania and Texas, among others, will benefit their local RMHC Chapters directly. Owner/operators are on pace to sell over 600,000 of them during the promotion.
“Even though there may have been a few setbacks with Covid, this program raised a lot of money for Houses around the United States,” says Gloria.
Who would have thought a small idea over two years ago could have helped so many?
The response from owner/operators has been phenomenal, Robin agrees. “At first, I thought we might raise $1 million and I was ecstatic, but now we’re looking at almost $2 million for local RMHC Chapters and I am over the moon.”
For Robin, that means funds to help support the Ronald McDonald House in Cincinnati, attached to the Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center, which recently completed a $50 million remodel expanding it into the largest Ronald McDonald House program in the world with 177 rooms.
Owner/operator partnership is essential to RMHC, says Jennifer Loeb, RMHC of Greater Cincinnati Executive Director.
“For nearly 40 years, our local McDonald’s owner/operators have been our partners in caring for critically ill children and their families,” she says.
“Robin’s passion for our mission has been so inspiring. To see this program spread across the country is a testament to her hard work and creativity and the amazing support of all of our local operators.”
Robin recalls how the children inspired her. “It’s a passion that never leaves you,” she says.
Co-ops interested in running a Sleeves for Support promotion can contact their Coca-Cola representative for more information.