'McDonald's with Mekhi' free Happy Meals honor 3-year-old boy killed in 2020 Chicago shooting

ByCate Cauguiran and Rob Hughes WLS logo
Monday, March 18, 2024
Free McDonald's Happy Meals honor 3-year-old killed in 2020 shooting
Mehki James, 3, was shot and killed while in a car seat in his father's car on June 20, 2020. He was on his way home to enjoy a McDonald's Happy Meal.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Free McDonald's Happy Meals were handed out Sunday on the city's West Side in remembrance of a young victim of gun violence.

Family of friends of Mekhi James spread joy in a small package to honor a life and joy taken from them.

"Mehki just not another name. He's not just another hashtag," family member Nicole McGee said. "He was our cousin. He was somebody."

Three-year-old Mehki was on his way home to enjoy a McDonald's Happy Meal when he was shot and killed while buckled into the car seat of his father's vehicle on June 20th, 2020.

"It stole a very innocent moment that kids should be able to enjoy, and because a bullet took that, we are taking it back," McGee said.

Since his death, his cousin McGee has made it her mission to remember Mekhi and other children who were impacted by gun violence by hosting "McDonalds with Mekhi."

Volunteers handed out free Happy Meals in North Lawndale to all children who stopped by the McDonald's restaurant.

It is the foundation's fourth year hosting the event.

"This is not just for Mekhi, but it's for all kids who are victims," McGee said. "A Happy Meal is small. It's loved, it's innocent. Each of these kids were small, they were all loved and they were all innocent. So we're just sharing what he should have had with everyone who should have it."

They handed out hundreds of free Happy Meals as of Sunday afternoon.

Many of the volunteers at the event were impacted by gun violence in their own ways, including Shawnta Williams. Her daughter spent two months in the hospital and survived multiple surgeries.

"So we got to attend events like this in order to keep awareness out there, in order to keep their stories alive," Williams said. "So I can only imagine what the parents of children who didn't survive are going through, so it's very touching."

READ MORE | Stop the violence: Chicago youth programs, resources

"It seems like it's never ending, and for me we all have to find where our strengths lie, mine does not lie in chasing killers. My strength lies in kids," McGee said. "I'm a childcare provider. I've always dealt with kids. I want to see the kids. I want provide for them something to make them feel good, encourage them. This is their time, this is their space. This is happening to them."

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