Mellow Mushroom raises dough for Ronald McDonald House

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FLEMING ISLAND – Clay County’s local Mellow Mushroom will be able to feed families following a recent charity drive.

The Legacy Restaurant Group, which has nine restaurants throughout Northeast Florida – five of those being Mellow Mushroom locations – turned into a day about the surrounding community. For every pizza purchased, a meal will be donated to the Ronald McDonald house in Jacksonville.

“We’ve supported them in the past and they help a lot of families hurt in troubled times, be it the coronavirus right now or something else entirely,” Legacy Restaurant Group COO Michael Phillips said. “They focus on stabilizing families and getting them back on their feet so our goal is to sell a bunch of pizzas today and have some funds set aside to donate meals to those families next month.”

The Ronald McDonald House in Jacksonville isn’t operating due to COVID-19, but Phillips said they’re expected to reopen in June. Mellow Mushroom then will donate meals to the families there.

Clay County’s only Mellow Mushroom is located on Fleming Island. Families dining in at the restaurant and ordering out were encouraged to order a pizza to help raise funds for the company’s charity drive.

“If someone is ordering a hoagie, for example, we might encourage them to order a pie instead and tell them about why it’s special to order a pizza on this day,” Phillips said.

One family, the Albach’s, said they ordered an extra pizza just to support the cause, even though their family doesn’t typically order three pizzas on pizza night.

“It’s a great cause so why not?” Teresa Albach said.

Phillips said this is the first time Mellow Mushroom has participated in project like this. He said it’s a cooperative effort between the franchisor in Atlanta and the franchisees. It’s a natural extension of Mellow Mushroom’s hospitality.

“Being in the service and hospitality business, we touch a lot of people whether local or passing through,” Phillips said. “We feel it’s important for us to succeed and support causes that really support the people within the communities and more so those who are in need at the highest level. The Ronald McDonald house really fosters that message and takes care of their people so it’s an easy organization for us to support with something like this.”

Because it is Mellow Mushroom’s initial charity drive, Phillips said awareness was created mostly through social media and emails. He said customers were lightly encouraged in-house to purchase pizza for the drive, but the next time Mellow Mushroom does a food drive, they’ll push even harder to raise funds.

“It’s a win-win for the community, our brand and our ability to help someone in need,” Phillips said. “That’s what the service business is all about.”

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