Shamrock Shake 2017 blog post

The Shamrock Shake: With RMHC Since 1974

Photo courtesy of Derek Morrison, Flickr.

It’s that time of the year again—yes, the beloved frothy, green Shamrock Shake is back!

But, what does this delicious holiday treat have to do with our House? This cult classic has dominated the appetites of McDonald’s consumers every March for the past four decades, but few know the tale behind its popularity.

According to the McDonald’s corporation, in 1974, Philadelphia Eagles tight end Fred Hill’s world was rocked when his daughter was diagnosed with leukemia. Hill and his wife stayed constantly by her side in hospitals as she was being treated. Unfortunately, hospital waiting rooms and chairs did not make the most comfortable of beds. After seeing families like his own forced to live away from home for months (or years) at a time, trying to keep up with expensive hospital bills, Hill determined something had to be done. These families needed an affordable place to go, where they could both be there to comfort their children and find some rest themselves in the midst of a difficult time.

Partnering with his teammates and general manager, Jim Murray, Hill worked to fulfill Dr. Audrey Evans’ dream of creating a “home away from home” for families of children hospitalized with serious illnesses. They contacted a local McDonald’s marketing representative and found out that the next available promotion was their St. Patrick’s Day Campaign: the Shamrock Shake.  It was a perfect fit! Complete with a neon green theme (like the Eagles’ colors) and a short-term production, the McDonald’s Shamrock Shake proceeds, coupled with funds from a few additional fundraising efforts, helped finance the first ever Ronald McDonald House.

In the spirit of Shamrock season, participating McDonald’s will donate $.25 from each McCafé Shamrock Chocolate beverage purchased to our House during the week of March 11-17. So if you purchase a delicious milkshake, be proud knowing you’ve helped our House!

Without Fred Hill’s persistence, the creativity of our mission partner McDonald’s, the Shamrock Shake, and donors like you, our House would not exist today. Thank you for helping us in our work of #keepingfamiliesclose!