Mid Atlantic DQ raises $500K+ for CHKD initiative

Published 4:52 pm Friday, February 23, 2024

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Mid Atlantic Dairy Queen raised more than $515,000 in 2023 to support the mental health initiative at Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters. 

A joint news release from CHKD and Franklin-based Mid Atlantic Dairy Queen LLC noted that the dollar amount represents the largest fundraising year on record for the longtime CHKD benefactor and popular ice cream franchise.

“This is an incredible achievement,” said Amy Sampson, president and CEO of CHKD Health System. “We are profoundly grateful to Mid Atlantic Dairy Queen, its employees and fans for helping us provide healing and support to the thousands of children who turn to us for mental health care services.”

The fundraising milestone comes two years after Mid Atlantic Dairy Queen announced it would raise $5 million to support CHKD’s efforts to help children and teens receive vital mental health services. The generous pledge is supported through a variety of fundraising efforts, including events, employee contributions and its “round up” campaign at the registers of all 15 Mid Atlantic Dairy Queen stores that allows customers to round up their purchase to the nearest dollar throughout the year. One of those 15 stores is located in Windsor.

So far, Mid Atlantic Dairy Queen has raised more than $1.64 million toward its $5 million goal. 

“CHKD is working diligently to ensure children in our community have a chance to see a brighter future, and we love supporting their mission,” said Matthew Bean, director of marketing and public relations for Mid Atlantic Dairy Queen. “We are so proud of the effort put forth by our team and the support we receive from DQ fans in Hampton Roads. Our work in 2023 was amazing, and now we are looking forward to raising the bar in 2024!”

Mid Atlantic Dairy Queen offers a variety of ways for fans to help:

  • Free Cone Day: On March 19, patrons will celebrate the beginning of spring with a free cone at Mid Atlantic Dairy Queen locations that they can dip for a donation.  
  • Miracle Treat Day: On July 25, all participating Dairy Queen locations will donate $1 to CHKD for every Blizzard sold that day. 
  • RoundUp for Kids: Throughout the year, customers at all 15 Mid Atlantic Dairy Queen locations can round up their total to help CHKD.

Mid Atlantic Dairy Queen began raising money for CHKD more than 35 years ago. Owner Mitch Sandlin said he wanted to help support CHKD’s commitment to make sure no child who needs medical care is ever turned away. 

When CHKD announced plans in 2019 to build a mental health hospital in Norfolk to provide inpatient care to children and teens, Mid Atlantic Dairy Queen quickly joined the cause. Fundraising totals have dramatically increased since then. In 2019, fans donated roughly $173,000 to CHKD. Last year’s total — $515,000 — is a nearly 200% increase in fundraising.

Mid Atlantic Dairy Queen remains committed to CHKD’s mental health initiative since CHKD’s mental health hospital, Children’s Pavilion, opened its doors in October 2022. So far, more than 900 children have been admitted for inpatient care.