DeLon Mork regrets that due to a corporate decision, the Madison Dairy Queen will not be hosting a community celebration this year to raise funds for the Children's Miracle Network.
However, that isn't going to stop him -- or other Dairy Queens in South Dakota -- from raising money for the nonprofit.
"They agreed to let South Dakota do an event, but we can't call it Miracle Treat Day," he said.
To raise money for the Children's Miracle Network this year, the Madison Dairy Queen will be hosting South Dakota Sweet Miracles on July 30. On that day, and in the days leading up to South Dakota Sweet Miracles, the Dairy Queen will be selling coupons for their signature Blizzards with $1 or more from each sale going to the Children's Miracle Network.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Dairy Queen is approaching the fund-raising event differently this year. The restaurant lobby will not be open. There will be no concert or outside games.
"Dairy Queen recommended against any large gatherings," Mork explained.
Similarly, Dairy Queen employees will not be pre-making Blizzards for employers to distribute in the workplace. Instead, businesses will be contacted about purchasing coupons for employees.
Through July 30, Blizzard coupons will also be available at the drive-thru, in the parking lot and at the shed in the DQ's west parking lot. Mork said the shed, which is wrapped in banners, will make it easy for individuals to purchase coupons without risking undue exposure to the coronavirus which causes COVID-19.
"I think it will be easy to pull up, park your car, get your coupons and drive off," he said.
While he doesn't expect to achieve the kind of sales he has seen or to raise the kind of money he has in the past, Mork does hope the community will respond generously. He knows that with the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses have been adversely affected and he suspects that fund-raising efforts for nonprofits have been similarly affected.
"I feel extra-compelled to do something to the best of my ability but as safely as we can," Mork said.
As in previous years, Mork has set a goal for the Dairy Queen's fund-raising efforts. His goal this year takes into consideration the changed situation.
"If we could do half of what we've done in the past, that would be an unbelievable success," he said. "If we do 25%, we're still going to be raising a lot of money for the Children's Miracle Network and the children and families they help."
The Madison Dairy Queen has sold more than 44,000 Blizzards each year for the last two years, and more than 40,000 Blizzards in 2017. Half of a three-year average would be 21,567.
The Dairy Queen will also be accepting donations for the Children' Miracle Network, according to Mork.
"We've always done that; it's been a significant part of our fund-raising efforts," he said.