Anyone entering a Colonial Café & Ice Cream location earlier this month would have seen the walls covered in “Shamrocks,” which have turned into “green” of another sort—a $6,462 donation to the local Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA).
Colonial Cafes, with seven locations across the Fox Valley, joins with charities throughout the year to help them generate donations by encouraging guests to contribute to their cause. Tied to St. Patrick’s Day this year was the popular MDA Shamrock sale, providing guests with the opportunity to purchase a “Shamrock,” and sign it for display in the Café. Guests donated $3,231.
As a bonus, Colonial Café corporate partner Great Lakes Fire & Safety of McHenry County joined the effort with matching funds, raising the total to $6,462, or more than enough to provide a week’s camping experience for eight youngsters suffering muscular dystrophy.
“Our MDA 'Shambassadors' who participated had a ball,” said Cassie Vedros, MDA’s fundraising coordinator. "And we’re so thankful for Colonial Café’s efforts and for all the donations generated.”
Shambassadors are teams of parents and youngsters affected by MDA who make public appearances in support of educational and fundraising activities.
MDA camp is a place offering a wide range of activities specially designed for young people who have limited mobility or use wheelchairs, Vedros explained. She said that although structured, camp programs are conducted in a relaxed atmosphere that gives campers an unmatched opportunity to develop lifelong friendships, share interests and build self-confidence.
Each year, MDA supports nearly 80 summer camps across the country. Camp MDA in Colonial’s area is in Ingleside where barriers simply don’t exist.
“A child with a disability can just be a child among friends…at no cost to their families,” Vedros said.
Colonial Cafe also has created the Colonial Cares Benefit Night fundraising program designed to unite families, friends, neighbors, students and faculty for a night out that includes a tasty dinner and legendary ice cream desserts. Each Colonial Cafe dedicates one night each week to an individual organization, collecting guest receipts between 4:30 p.m. and close from all guests who mention that they are with the benefitting organization while paying at the register. At the end of the night, Colonial tallies the total sales and donates up to 20 percent back to the designated organization.
There are Colonial Cafes in Algonquin, Aurora, Crystal Lake, Elgin, Naperville and one each on the east and west sides of St. Charles.