MT. PLEASANT — Even during a pandemic, the Mt. Pleasant Dairy Queen and its customers are finding ways to help the community and contribute to a good cause.
Each year since 2008, the local business has held a fundraiser benefiting the Children’s Miracle Network, a nonprofit that raises funds for local children’s hospitals, medical research and community awareness of children’s health issues. Donations from the Mt. Pleasant Dairy Queen go to the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital.
“We have three grandkids who have gone through the NICU at the U of I. It’s an important cause for us,” Chris Herman, co-owner of the local business said.
Herman said the hospital provided critical care for her family when one of her granddaughter’s was born prematurely and another fought off respiratory syncytial virus.
“They were excellent to us … it’s something near and dear to our hearts,” she added.
Traditionally, the local ice cream shop hosts two main fundraisers, a Free Cone Day and a Miracle Treat Day, in addition to collecting donations throughout the year.
Herman said that during Free Cone Day, the shop offers free cones to customers and collects free will donations. With Miracle Treat Day, a dollar is donated for each Blizzard the location sells.
“Last year, in just those two days, we totaled $1,260, which was half of what we raised the whole year. The customers made up the other half,” Herman said.
In total, the business raised $2,354 for the Children’s Miracle Network in 2019. With the pandemic and with the absence of the two fundraisers, the business decided to slightly lower its goal amount to $2,000. The business recently hit its goal with the help of its customers.
“We went ahead and did a donation ourselves like we would have. Normally we do $300 to $400 for Miracle Treat Day,” she said.
Herman said the support from the community is incredibly “heartwarming,” and she often hears from community members who contribute about how the University of Iowa’s Children’s Hospital has helped their family.
“They’ll say their granddaughter or their son or somebody in their family has benefited from the U of I Children’s Hospital so they’re more than happy to donate as well because they know it’s a good cause,” Herman said.
The co-owner said she continues to be blown away by “amazing customers” but is not surprised the business hit its goal this year, despite it being a challenging time.
“I am both amazed yet unsurprised by our customer donations. I had a customer yesterday whose total was around $12.38. He gave me $20 and told me to give the change to CMN. I thought he meant the 62 cents, then he said, ‘No, all of it.’ I see people every day that say, ‘Give them my change,’” she said.