McDonald’s Meals: When Can Healthcare Workers Get Free Food?


Getty A sign outside of a McDonald's restaurant.

McDonald’s has announced that it will be offering free meals to first responders and healthcare workers as a way to say ‘thank you’ during the COVID-19 pandemic. The fast food giant made the announcement on Tuesday, April 21 on its website. The free meals are available starting on Wednesday, April 22 and will be available until May 5.

The company wrote: “First Responders and Healthcare Workers, We Thank You.” All that’s required is that first responders and healthcare workers show their work badge as proof of employment at a participating location and they will qualify for a free Thank You meal.

There Are Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Options Available as Thank You Meals at Drive Thrus & Counters

The company has also listed the items available as a Thank You meal. For breakfast, it’s the choice of an “Egg McMuffin, Chicken McGriddles or a Bacon, Egg and Cheese Biscuit” along with “any size soft drink, tea or hot coffee and Hash Browns.”

For lunch and dinner, the options are a “Double Cheeseburger, 6 Piece McNuggets or a Filet-O-Fish,” as well as “any size soft drink, tea or hot coffee and small World Famous Fries.”

The Thank You meals are not available through Uber Eats or DoorDash. They must be redeemed in person at a drive thru or at the counter at a participating location.

The company posted about the free meals on its Twitter account, asking the community to spread the word and let people know that frontline workers are able to request a Thank You meal. “We’d truly be proud to take their order,” the company said.

Some People Have Asked the Company to Clarify Its Definition of Frontline Workers

McDonald’s tweet included a video that showed different professions on the front line, including nurses, physicians, firefighters, paramedics and occupational therapists. Many people replied to the post asking about other jobs and saying they should also consider other professions to be frontline workers.

One user replied, “Would you consider thank you meals for grocery store employees and postal workers. They are risking their lives too.” Another added: “Do you consider social workers as first responders?”

One person posted to Twitter: “Are NYC transit workers included. 80 and counting have died on the job because of the virus. Healthcare workers would not be able to get to work without us.” One tweet read: “My kids and husband work in retail. Are they considered frontline…because they are to me.”

Others took the opportunity to criticize the fast food company, as the move comes while McDonald’s employees in different locations are striking. Employees in Los Angeles, St. Louis, Tampa, San Jose and other locations have coordinated strike actions to push for safer work conditions, hazard pay and paid sick leave.

In response to the Thank You meal initiative, one Twitter user wrote, “pay your workers more,” while another said: “Got a super cute email from @McDonalds bragging about providing ‘thank you’ meals to frontline workers. Last month they went hard lobbying AGAINST paid sick leave requirements, which would create more cases while using the ‘heroes’ who have to treat them as a PR ploy. Gross.”

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