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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

McDonald's Delivers $8,000 In PCs, Fridges to Orphans

Fast-food giant McDonald's said Tuesday it delivered $8,000 worth of computers, refrigerators and other equipment to Russian orphanages this month -- all bought with last month's customer donations.

After buying their Big Macs, customers at Moscow's 39 McDonald's in December dropped some $8,000 of loose change into the transparent donation boxes that sit among the clutter of cash registers at each restaurant, said officials at the Ronald McDonald House, the company's charitable arm.

"It really was impressive -- all this from those boxes that it often seems are ignored," said Svetlana Polyakova, spokeswoman for McDonald's Russian operations.

The charity put the money to work immediately by giving computers, printers, refrigerators, a washing machine and warm clothing to two orphanages in the Moscow region and one in the Podolsk region.

The Ronald McDonald House raised $340,000 in charitable donations in 2001, with about $80,000 coming directly from the donation boxes, Polyakova said.

Since opening its first restaurant at Pushkin Square in 1990, McDonald's has donated more than $4.5 million to Russian charitable causes, according to the Labor and Social Development Ministry.

The Ronald McDonald House relies mainly on corporate and private donations to fund programs that help needy children.

"It's very good that this program exists because it creates an example," Labor and Social Development Minister Alexander Pochinok said Tuesday at a news conference on the December donations. "Why shouldn't every shop, every casino, donate just a little money to such causes?"

Pochinok said government estimates put the number of homeless children in 2001 at 1.2 million but added that people are finally waking up to the problem.

Since 1993, more than 70 shelters for homeless children have opened in Moscow, he said, and 37 new orphanages are planned by city authorities.