St. Patrick’s Day Blessing – How McDonald’s Shamrock Shakes Help Critically Ill Children

The St. Patrick’s Day Shamrock Shake, offered by McDonald’s every year, is a yummy ice cream treat that offers minty freshness and a cheerful green color to chase away the last of the winter blues. Made with vanilla ice cream, Shamrock Shake syrup, whipped cream, and a cherry, this is a perfect complement to the St. Patrick’s Day holiday. Though loved by fans across the country, this St. Patrick’s Day staple offers much more than just a few moments of sweet, minty pleasure.

Connecticut franchise owner, Hal Rosen, first created the green beverage to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in 1967. It was so well received that McDonald’s officially released the Shamrock Shake to East Coast and mid-Atlantic restaurants in 1970. Originally the St. Patrick’s Day drink was simply a delicious accompaniment to the scrumptious McDonald’s menu. The Shamrock Shake was destined for greatness, though, and in 1974 it became a means to launching the very first Ronald McDonald House, which is a free option to hotels for parents of very ill children.

The very first Ronald McDonald House, in Philadelphia.

In 1974, Philadelphia Eagles tight end, Fred Hill, contacted McDonald’s with the desire to help families like his own who were dealing with serious illness. Hill’s daughter, Kim, was diagnosed with leukemia when she was three. Fred and his wife Fran refused to leave Kim’s side, and so were forced to sleep on hospital chairs and eat from vending machines. McDonald’s was preparing for the St. Patrick’s Day promotion, and partnered with the Eagles to use their unique St. Patrick’s Day beverage to raise money to help children with serious illness and their families. For a week, all proceeds from the St. Patrick’s Day treat were donated toward this endeavor.

Kim Hill, diagnosed with leukemia at age three, beat the disease and lived until the age of 44.

Ronald McDonald House Charities is responsible for building a huge conglomerate of resources for parents of seriously ill children. From houses located close to children’s hospitals to family rooms located within the hospitals, this charity helps many children around the world. It’s hard to believe that such a tremendous blessing got it’s start with a simple St. Patrick’s Day drink.

Do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a Shamrock Shake?

[Images via Serious Eats/RMHC/RMHC Philly]