Thousands of earth angels turned out for Dairy Queen's Miracle Treat Day held on July 27, raising $11,000 for children and families affected by Down syndrome in the Bahamas.
For one day only, DQ donated $2 from every Blizzard sold to local schools and organisations that support those with Down syndrome. Benefitting organisations included the Bahamas Down Syndrome & Friends Centre, Stapledon School and Hopedale Centre.
Since 2014, DQ's Miracle Treat Day has raised more than $32,000 for local children and non-profit organisations in need - helping to create miracles for those with cancer, diabetes, autism and Down syndrome.
"There is tremendous need in our community, and the support Miracle Treat Day Bahamas receives encourages us to continue giving back in this special way to the children and families in our community who need it most," said DQ's Derek Osborne.
This is the fourth year that DQ Bahamas has participated in Miracle Treat Day, which has been celebrated for more than 30 years across the United States and Canada.
"Our goal is to not only raise funds for those who need it, but to shine a light on their cause and bring awareness that will help to sensitise the public to those with special needs in our communities," said Mr Osborne.
The Bahamas Down Syndrome & Friends Centre supports more than 50 children and adults ranging from age eight to 50. The centre provides specialised and intensive education as well as speech, physio and occupational therapy. For the adults, math, English, reading, writing, cooking, art and music as well as outings to the grocery store, bank and other field trips are offered.
"I cannot begin to express how grateful we are to DQ for selecting us as one of the beneficiaries of this year's Miracle Treat Day initiative," said Cheryl Johnson-Newell, founder and president of the Bahamas Down Syndrome & Friends Centre.
"We spend so much time knocking on doors for assistance that it's truly refreshing to have a community minded organisation like DQ reach out to us with a helping hand. Those with Down syndrome are so loving, we call them the love doctors, and so to have DQ show us this kind of love is truly overwhelming."
In September, the centre will open Ty's Place, an innovative coffee shop and juice bar owned and worked by the adults of the Bahamas Down Syndrome & Friends Centre. The first of its kind in the region, the venture will not only provide gainful employment for those with Down syndrome, but give them ownership in the venture as well.
"We are so excited to open Ty's Place. Too many of our adults with Down syndrome are underutilised, sitting at home and not using the skills they have. This will enable them to have ownership in something and give them purpose, a reason to wake up every morning," said Mrs Johnson-Newell.
DQ will host the fifth annual Miracle Treat Day Bahamas in summer 2018. Organisations wishing to pledge their support in advance may visit www.miracletreatday242.com or e-mail DQ242MTD@gmail.com.