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Children To Benefit From World Children's Day 2003

Thousands Of New Zealand Children To Benefit From World Children's Day 2003

Ronald McDonald House Charities will be able to help many more New Zealand children and their families following the second annual World Children's Day -- joining a global fundraising initiative taking place on Thursday, 20 November 2003.

World Children's Day, organised and held in more than 30,000 McDonald's restaurants in more than 120 countries, was inspired after a call from the United Nation's Secretary General, Kofi Annan, asking businesses to become more involved in the protection of child rights and child survival.

In New Zealand, World Children's Day will raise funds for Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) -- the official charity of McDonald's Restaurants in New Zealand. Last year the inaugural World Children's Day raised more than $24 million in 24 hours worldwide and assisted more than 200 children's causes, including many in New Zealand.

While the official World Children's Day takes place on 20 November, McDonald's New Zealand is holding seven days of fundraising activities from 17--23 November, providing people throughout the country with an opportunity to be involved.

During the week, visitors to any McDonald's restaurant can make a gold coin donation in return for a child's smiley face, upon which they can sign their name.

These faces will be displayed in their local restaurant, creating a great visual representation of the country's generosity. People do not need to make a restaurant purchase in order to participate -- just bring their gold coin to donate.

This year McDonald's is also working with Telecom to raise funds for World Children's Day so people can text "kids" to 8008 on their Telecom mobile to make a $2 donation to the Charity.

"The power of World Children's Day is that we can help Kiwi kids from all over the country," says McDonald's Restaurants (NZ) Ltd Chief Executive, Alan Dunn. "Funds raised during the week will go towards the Ronald McDonald Houses and other projects that Ronald McDonald House Charities supports."

Established in 1989, Ronald McDonald House Charities is a children focused charity that aims to improve the health and wellbeing of New Zealand children by initiating and supporting programmes that positively impact on the lives of children and their families.

In 2004 RMHC hope to make grants totaling $2.5 million, including an expansion grant to the Auckland Ronald McDonald House, and their regular Ronald McDonald House support. Another beneficiary will be Kidz First Hospital at Middlemore where the Charity will be funding the building of a four bedroom Family Unit in the Neonatal Intensive Care Ward.

The global celebration of World Children's Day on 20 November coincides with the anniversary of the United Nation's adoption of the Convention of the Rights of the Child.

Last year New Zealand took centre place on the world stage on 20 November as the first country to welcome in World Children's Day. New Zealanders around the country showed great generosity and support towards the inaugural event.

People can support World Children's Day by visiting any McDonald's restaurant from 17--23 November and donating a gold coin to help make a child smile, or by texting "kids" to 8008 on their Telecom mobile to make a $2 donation to the Charity.

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