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Hmong College Prep Academy receives 3,500 McDonald's lunches

Delaware-based AK Equity donated $20,000 to cover the cost.

ST PAUL, Minn — An annual school picnic became a bit more happy this year.

As in, McDonald’s Happy Meals-happy.

On Friday, the Hmong College Prep Academy served nearly 3,500 people with the McDonald’s fare – along with more traditional picnic items – after Delaware-based AK Equity donated $20,000 to cover the cost.

“I have to give back, and I’ll continue to give back and do what I can,” said Kay Yang, CEO of AK Equity.

As a former refugee, Yang said she could identify with the students at HCPA.

“That was me. When I saw these little kids, that was me,” she recalled, adding that she then remembered her childhood desire: “I always wanted to eat McDonald's.

School officials say it’s unlikely many of their students have had a McDonald’s meal, with 90 percent of HCPA students being first-generation Americans. A majority of students are also from low-income families.

That’s why the day… the meal… the purpose – complete with the presence of police, deputies and firefighters – all made an impact.

“To have fun together and learn together and just connect with different community members out there,” said Dr. Christiana Hang, the HCPA Superintendent.

Workers from about a dozen local McDonald’s restaurants – all owned by the Henry family – helped serve the meals. They also offered the food at a discount.