By Cian Molloy - 03 August, 2020
The restaurant chain McDonald’s Ireland has donated 2,000 books to the Society of St Vincent de Paul in a move that coincides with the fast-food firm’s decision to include books, along with toys, as part of its Happy Meal deals.
The books, by much-loved children’s authors such as Roald Dahl, are being distributed to children across the country. About half of the 2,000 books will be distributed in the SVP’s Eastern Region where a WordPower literacy programme is already well established.
“This generous donation will greatly benefit so many children and families across the country,” said the charity’s national president Kieran Stafford. “This will help bring early learning and development benefits to children who might not normally have access to reading material.”
Mr Stafford said that the McDonald’s donation represents the biggest single donation made to the WordPower programme, which has already seen books provided to about 3,500 children in Dublin, Kildare and Wicklow.
“WordPower aims to empower families by providing encouragement to parents and giving opportunities to help them get school-ready,” said the project’s co-ordinator Clare Mander. “To further enhance the value of bringing books into families, WordPower has published an information booklet for parents and guardians that provides guidance on reading with children, as well as information on joining the public library.
“Increased resources such as this donation from McDonald’s can help bring the project to more families including those living in emergency accommodation and direct provision centres.”
McDonald’s UK and Ireland vice-president for food and marketing, Michelle Graham-Clare, says that the restaurant company has been involved in initiatives to get children reading for more than a decade. “This programme not only allows us to distribute even more books, but also supports our sustainability journey, giving families the ability to opt out of plastic toys,” she said.
“We are always working on our Happy Meal and from 2021, we will no longer give away hard plastic toys. We’re testing new packaging solutions for books and toys and constantly reviewing our Happy Meal gifts and menu to offer even greater choice to families.”