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'I’ll be here every day I can': Red Wednesday volunteer explains what's brought her back for 9 years

Deanna DiSalvo waves over drivers
Posted at 5:00 PM, Sep 06, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-06 22:38:40-04

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Hundreds of volunteers were scattered around different Kansas City McDonald's locations for Red Wednesday. It's an almost decade-old tradition, where volunteers sell limited-edition Kansas City Chiefs flags with the proceeds going to the Ronald McDonald House.

Not a lot of those volunteers, however, are able to say that they've been participating since the beginning, like Deanna DiSalvo.

"You can see them coming through the drive-thru, everyone’s yelling, 'Go Chiefs!'," said DiSalvo. "I am not a morning person at all, but I am for Red Wednesday."

DiSalvo was out at the McDonald's on Barry Road at 6 a.m. for another year of collecting donations and passing out flags with a smile, a wave and a red bucket in hand.

Deanna DiSalvo sells limited-edition Chiefs flags at McDonald's.

"It’s the energy of the people, the excitement of the day, that gets me up and going for this," she said.

Even during the Chiefs' not-so-good seasons, she was out there.

"Chiefs fans are Chiefs fans, and they’re gonna come out whether we’re good or bad," DiSalvo said.

Of course, one of her favorite years as a volunteer was the season after the Chiefs won the Super Bowl in 2020.

"There were lines before the doors even opened for people to come and buy them, and we sold out very quickly," DiSalvo said.

That season was a record-breaking year, raising $1 million in flag sales.

Outside of this event, DiSalvo works closely with the Ronald McDonald House. Actually meeting the people who this fundraiser benefits and hearing their stories is what makes it all worth it for her, and what brings her back year after year.

"A lot of charities you maybe don’t get to see all the work that they do, but you can see that firsthand," DiSalvo said. "Especially when you know the people that come through that have a personal connection and have stayed in the house."

The box of flags began to run low around 8 a.m., and DiSalvo's group officially sold out of flags at 8:15 a.m.

We asked DiSalvo if there's ever been a year she's wanted to skip out.

"No, never, never, and there probably won’t be," DiSalvo said. "Even out in the rain, the cold and the snow, this is really important and I’ll be here every day I can."