All Healthcare Workers and First Responders Get a Free Meal at McDonald's

McDonald's is handing out "Thank You Meals" to everyone on the frontline of the pandemic, and we are most certainly lovin' it.

McDonald's: Bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit | ANDY KRYZA/THRILLIST
McDonald's: Bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit | ANDY KRYZA/THRILLIST

For many of us, our love of McDonald’s began when our caretaker bought us that very first Happy Meal. But the now-vacant red and yellow tables have turned in the wake of a pandemic, and our frontline caretakers—namely, healthcare workers and first responders—deserve that same free love and nourishment. Enter: McDonald's "Thank You Meals." 

McDonald's announced on April 21 that, in appreciation of the healthcare workers, police officers, firefighters, and paramedics on the frontline of the pandemic, the chain will be offering free Thank You Meals, between Wednesday, April 22 and Tuesday, May 5. The free breakfast, lunch, or dinner will be served in a Happy Meal box and handed out without the requirement of additional purchases. It can be picked up via drive-thru or carry out at participating McDonald’s restaurants across the US. 

Most McDonald’s restaurants in the US are still open and serving food through drive-thru, carry out, and McDelivery, but do note that you can only get the free meal through if you go to the restaurant. That said, you can go as many times as you'd like. Check out your local restaurant operating times here.

Here's the breakdown of free offerings per meal:

  • Breakfast:
    • Choice of an Egg McMuffin, Chicken McGriddles or a Bacon, Egg and Cheese Biscuit.
    • Any size soft drink, tea or hot coffee and a hash brown.
  • Lunch & Dinner: 
    • Choice of a Double Cheeseburger, 6-Piece Chicken McNuggets or a Filet-O-Fish.
    • Any size soft drink, tea or hot coffee and small fries.
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“Emergency physicians and other health care workers on the frontlines are spending hours a day on their feet, often missing meals in their efforts to care for their patients,” said Dr. William Jaquis, President of The American College of Emergency Physicians, in a press release. “McDonald’s Thank You Meal is a much-appreciated gesture for those risking their lives each day to take a break with a hot meal amidst the turbulence.”

Mickey D's is not the only chain offering free food to healthcare workers. Right now, Starbucks is offering free iced or hot coffee, Krispy Kreme is giving out dozens of free donuts a week, and White Castle already beat McDonald's to the punch with its own free meal deal.

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Ruby Anderson is a News Writer for Thrillist.