McD's Minion frenzy nets meals for charity

SINGAPORE - More than 5,000 Happy Meals have been pledged to charity, in a move by McDonald's to let customers donate their meals after buying them to redeem toy characters, called Minions, from the Despicable Me 2 movie.

Worth an estimated $20,000, the meals will be given to the Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore (Minds).

Launched on July 18 and ending tomorrow, the move coincides with McDonald's promotion of giving away a Minion toy with a Happy Meal.

The promotion caused a collecting frenzy, with long queues seen at many McDonald's restaurants as new Minion toys were launched each week.

The final three Minion toys in the current promotion were released last Thursday, and sold out on the same day.

In a Hello Kitty toy promotion this year with McDonald's Extra Value Meals, some customers threw away the meals as they only wanted the toys.

Asked if the move to allow customers to donate their Happy Meals was in response to complaints or concerns over food wastage, Mr Kevin Lim, senior communications manager at McDonald's Restaurants, Singapore, said many customers had written in, asking for the option to donate their food.

Minds' chief executive, Mr Keh Eng Song, said that over 1,300 meals will be distributed next month to its three employment-development centres and one of its special-education schools.

Mr Lim said McDonald's had initially pledged 1,000 Happy Meals. The rest of the donated meals would be distributed in the coming months.

Mr Keh said that Minds "worked with McDonald's to select a meal combination that would be more nutritious".

Mr Lim said the meals will comprise four pieces of Chicken McNuggets, a corn cup or a pack of apple slices, and a packet of Ribena with less sugar.

He said that this is the first time McDonald's has offered customers the option to donate their food in Singapore, and it is something the restaurant will consider for future promotions.

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