McDon­ald’s staff get into gear to help good cause

Dress-up days a huge hit as store raises cash for char­ity

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - Jil­lian Mc­Kee

SWAP­PING their uni­forms for a safety vest, Mt Druitt McDon­ald’s em­ploy­ees are set­ting the bench­mark across the coun­try.

The store has kicked off 2016 with a monthly dres­sup day to raise funds for sick chil­dren and their fam­i­lies at Ron­ald McDon­ald House.

Fran­chisee An­gelo Sala­markis is the mas­ter­mind be­hind the idea. Hav­ing worked at McDon­ald’s for more than 40 years, he now owns stores in Zoe Place, Mt Druitt, Mt Druitt West­field and Plump­ton.

Mr Sala­markis started at McDon­ald’s at age 13 af­ter be­ing fired from a pre­vi­ous job. “The thing I love about work­ing at McDon­ald’s is that we get the op­por­tu­nity to work with the com­mu­nity – it is not just hav­ing money boxes in the stores,” he said.

Af­ter a visit to Ron­ald McDon­ald House, Mr Sala­markis was in­spired to do more for the char­ity.

“Ev­ery time I go to Ron­ald McDon­ald House, that is my in­spi­ra­tion – the kids see me with no hair and they laugh and smile and say, ‘He is one of us’,” he said. “It is see­ing what th­ese kids go through and the long dis­tances they have to travel to get to Ro- nald McDon­ald House. We sat down with the staff and brain­stormed on what we could do; they came up with the (dress-up) idea and I said, ‘That’s fan­tas­tic’.”

The ini­tia­tive is set to raise be­tween $25,000 to $30,000 this year but it’s not just Ron­ald McDon­ald House that ben­e­fits.

“It is great for the crew morale too. The crew are ac­tu­ally ex­cited to come to work,” Mr Sala­markis said.

Melissa Jones works at the Mt Druitt store and loves the dress-up days. “We re­ally look for­ward to th­ese days. It puts a bit of fun into work,” she said.

“Last month we had footy day or jersey day ... the team here is great and ev­ery­one gets into it.”

Gemma Ci­ap­para has been at the Mt Druitt store for six years. She said the com­mu­nity’s re­sponse had been great.

“The dress-up en­cour­ages the cus­tomers to join in and do­nate too,” she said. “It’s great to have th­ese days.”

Mr Sala­markis hoped the ini­tia­tive would en­cour­age more stores to get in­volved.

“There are no other stores that I know of that do this,” he said. “I hope other stores in our area and across the coun­try will get in­volved.”

Ron­ald McDon­ald House has helped more than 68,000 Aus­tralian fam­i­lies in 30 years. Do­nate: rmhc.org. au/do­nate.

Ev­ery time I go to Ron­ald McDon­ald House, that is my in­spi­ra­tion

An­gelo Sala­markis

McDon­ald’s Mt Druitt staff dress up as

tradies (from left) Mel Jones, Paul Sala­markis, An­gelo Sala­markis, Jemma Ci­ap­para and Kim Jones and (in­set) the ini­tia­tive is well sup­ported by all staff.

Pic­tures: Peter Kelly

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