Mid Atlantic DQ pledges $5M to CHKD mental health initiative

Published 6:57 pm Friday, July 29, 2022

Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters has received a $5 million pledge from longtime benefactor Mid Atlantic Dairy Queen to support the hospital’s “Lighting the Way” mental health initiative.

Mid Atlantic Dairy Queen is locally owned and operated out of Franklin, with 14 locations in the Hampton Roads region, including one store each in Franklin, Courtland and Windsor.

A CHKD news release stated that Mid Atlantic DQ’s generous pledge will be provided through a variety of fundraising efforts, including a “round up” campaign at the registers of all 14 Mid Atlantic DQs that will allow customers to round up their purchase to the nearest dollar through the end of the year.

People can also visit the Mid Atlantic DQs on Miracle Treat Day, July 28, and $1 from every Blizzard will be donated to CHKD. Coin canisters and employee donations will also go toward the $5 million pledge.

“Our fans and our team love giving to CHKD, so we keep raising the bar on our pledges,” Mid Atlantic Dairy Queen Chief Executive Officer Mitch Sandlin said. “The enthusiasm for CHKD never ends, and the community continues to step up to support the projects the children need.”

CHKD’s Lighting the Way campaign has expanded the hospital’s mental health team and launched the transformative Children’s Pavilion, a 14-story tower on Gresham Drive in Norfolk that opened to outpatient services in April. The first of 60 private inpatient beds for psychiatric treatment will open in the fall.

Children’s Pavilion inpatient units will feature healing amenities like creative expression spaces for music and art therapy, an indoor gym and a rooftop recreation center where hospitalized children can get exercise and fresh air.

“We appreciate Mid Atlantic Dairy Queen’s incredible generosity in support of CHKD’s mental health initiative,” said Jim Dahling, CHKD president and CEO. “Their $5 million pledge will have a powerful impact on the quality of care we are able to offer our children.”

Currently, the pavilion offers outpatient mental health treatment, primary care, sports medicine and laboratory and radiology services. The goal is to provide an environment that integrates access to mental health services into other routine services in order to destigmatize the identification and treatment of psychiatric conditions within the pediatric population.

“Mental health is fundamental to children’s well-being,” said Matthew Bean, director of marketing of Mid Atlantic Dairy Queen. “Creating mental health resources builds a better future for them and for the entire community.”

Once it is fully operating, the CHKD mental health hospital will employ more than 400 doctors, nurses, therapists and other mental health professionals who will treat thousands of children across the state and beyond. In a far-reaching aspect of the initiative, a fellowship training program for child and adolescent psychiatrists also is being developed to train mental health providers. This critical program will improve access to care in Hampton Roads and also help address the extreme shortage of child and adolescent psychiatrists across the country.

To learn more about the mental health initiative, visit www.chkd.org/LightingTheWay/.