Wendys Patrons Gave Generously

February 6, 2004
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GRAND RAPIDS — Residents who “rounded up” payment late last year for Wendy’s food purchases in a fund-raising benefit for St. John’s Home may be interested in how much they donated.

Meritage Hospitality Group Inc., the franchisee that operates the 47 West Michigan Wendy’s participating in the program, said that thanks to customers’ generosity, it was able to give $117,000 to the Change a Child’s Life fund-raising campaign.

Meritage CEO Robert Schermer Jr. said the collection topped last year’s donation by more than $20,000.

And according to Michelle Hoexum, development director for St. John’s Home, the donation constitutes 10 percent of the not-for-profit’s current $1.1 million drive.

She said the goal is by far the biggest drive that the home for abused and neglected children ever has conducted.

St. John’s is a non-governmental entity that operates a campus of home-like shelters for children whom police rescue from distressing circumstances ranging from child abuse to abandonment.

Reportedly, the program is unique and officials in few other communities have such an alternative when seeking shelter for children in distressing circumstances.

The Meritage participation in the campaign started at Thanksgiving and ran through New Year’s Day.

Hoexum said the drive, which primarily is buttressing the home’s operating budget, is continuing through St. John’s solicitations for donations from large corporations and individual donors. Some of St. John’s households have been constructed gratis by local builders and their employees.

Schermer said he was overwhelmed by the generosity of Wendy’s customers and store employees who collected donations.

“The Change a Child’s Life campaign follows our annual tradition of giving back to the communities in which we live and operate our Wendy’s restaurants,” he said.           

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