Five everyday heroes from around the world were honored today for their inspiring work on behalf of children in need as part of World Children’s Day at McDonald’s. The celebration took place today at the Ronald McDonald House of New York City, where McDonald’s USA President Don Thompson was joined by entertainment stars Hayden Panettiere from NBC’s “Heroes;” multi-platinum artist and songwriter, Ne-Yo; actress, singer, and comedienne Angelica Vale; and celebrity chef Ron Bilaro.

“As we host World Children’s Day across the globe, we think of the children and families who have been helped in times of real need,” says Don Thompson, president, McDonald’s USA. “We are grateful to everyone who makes it possible to help children through Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) and other worthy children’s causes, and we hope many more will be inspired to offer support. That is what World Children’s Day is all about.”

The entertainment stars joined the “Friends of RMHC” network of more than 30,000 volunteers who support the Charities’ programs in countries across the globe. “It is very fulfilling to assist children in need as well as their families,” says Panettiere. “I am honored to support World Children’s Day and Ronald McDonald House Charities to help bring attention to this very special cause.”

World Children’s Day at McDonald’s is a worldwide annual fundraising effort that comes to life at McDonald’s restaurants in more than 100 countries thanks to McDonald’s customers, owners/operators, employees, and suppliers. Since its inception in 2002, World Children’s Day at McDonald’s has raised $100 million to help children and families through RMHC programs, including Ronald McDonald Houses, Ronald McDonald Family Rooms, Ronald McDonald Care Mobiles, grants, and scholarships, plus other children’s charities.

At today’s event, RMHC also announced a goal to raise $600 million over the next four years to:

— Build 68 new Ronald McDonald Houses, for a total of 339, and expand 30
existing Houses, so that each night 8,000 families will be able to call
a Ronald McDonald House home

— Open 56 more Ronald McDonald Family Rooms, raising the number to 171,
so RMHC can serve a total of a million and a half families per year

— Roll out 23 new Ronald McDonald Care Mobiles, bringing the fleet to 54,
enabling RMHC to serve more than 420,000 children each year with dental
and medical care in their neighborhoods, where they need it.

Charitable Giving, News, McDonald's