McDonald’s Owner Supports Hadiya Pendleton’s Family

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By Afiya J Watkins

The parents of slain Chicago teen, Hadiya Pendleton will be presented with a donation Friday from McDonald’s franchise owner, Yolanda Travis. The proceeds will help benefit a foundation named in their daughter’s honor. Many will remember Hadiya as the 15-year-old student from King College Prep, who was an unintended target gunned down at Vivian Gordon Harsh Park near the school on Jan. 29, 2013. She was a promising student with a bright future ahead of her who was involved in several extracurricular activities. According to friends, she was often concerned about the senseless acts of violence in her city and the potential for robbing the youth of their future.

Hadiya’s parents expressed gratitude for the donation but declined to say how much it was. “I thank [Travis] from the bottom of my heart for supporting our cause on behalf of our daughter Hadiya,” said her mother, Cleopatra Cowley-Pendleton.

Yolanda Travis, who owns two McDonald’s restaurants also declined to specify the amount that she donated only stating “It is for a substantial amount, and this money will go toward the Hadiya Pendleton Foundation, which I know will do good things for our youths as time goes on.”

Travis fondly recalled how Hadiya and other King College Prep majorettes would practice during the summer for the Bud Billiken Parade outside her restaurant on 47th Street.

“They would march from King College Prep all the way to 51st and Cottage Grove, and would stop in front of my McDonald’s and put on a mini-performance for everyone,” she said. “The majorettes and band members ate at my restaurant often, and while I do not recall having any individual conversations with Hadiya, I do remember seeing her in my McDonald’s a lot.”

During last year’s Bud Billiken Parade, Travis said Cowley-Pendleton rode on a McDonald’s float with her. The pair started talking and didn’t stop.

“We had a really nice conversation” Travis recalled.

The check will be presented Friday at the McDonald’s at 740 E. 47th St., which will also celebrate its grand reopening.

In addition to online donations, Cowley-Pendleton said donations for the 501(c) 3 nonprofit can be mailed to 47 W. Polk St., Suite 100-547, Chicago IL 60605.


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