22 Mar Serving KINDNESS: Greater Atlanta McDonald’s Operators’ Association
“It’s our way of giving back to the community and it’s the most important way we have, because it’s just a natural fit.”
—Tony Raffa, McDonald’s Owner/Operator
“You may not be able to contribute huge sums of money, but you can support the House on every level.”
—John Tamasi, McDonald’s Owner/Operator
Operators’ Penny Per Pound of Fries Program Helps Families
As longtime McDonald’s Owner/Operators, Tony Raffa and John Tamasi know a thing or two about food service, but it’s another kind of serving where these two really shine.
Over the years, Tony and John have worked with their colleagues in the Greater Atlanta McDonald’s Operators’ Association (GAMOA) to raise money and awareness for Atlanta RMHC. That support has resulted in thousands of volunteer hours and millions of dollars.
“The Operators are really involved and deeply attached to the Houses,” Tony says. “They are generous with their time and finances.”
Keeping the Atlanta RMHC mission in focus is key, says John. “We take things for granted, but when something like sickness or injury happens, everything stops because nothing else matters.”
It’s that understanding that is so motivating and has become a resounding message for galvanizing the more than 50 Owner/Operators throughout the 45 metro-Atlanta counties that make up GAMOA’s territory.
“When we talk about what we’re going to do for the House, it’s unanimously voted in because we have the same purpose: It’s all about the kids,” John says.
Bob Morrison, former Atlanta RMHC Board member and chair of the capital campaign for the Gatewood House, couldn’t agree more and says GAMOA is a case study in teamwork.
“Nobody is better at teamwork than Team McDonald’s,” he says, referencing how the association met the challenge during fundraising for the Gatewood House that opened in 2008.
“They were all in. The collective support of those generous men and women got the campaign off to a fast and productive start,” remembers Bob.
To support this campaign, Operators agreed in 2005 to divert funds from their wallets to increase donations to Atlanta RMHC from 1 cent to 2.5 cents per pound of fries sold. In 2018 alone, the Penny per Pound program averaged almost $55,000 a month.
The Operators have also dug into their personal time as generously as they have their pocketbooks. This is an important message John says he tries to communicate to newer Operators.
“Whatever it takes, we’re all willing to do it, to pitch in and do our part,” John says.
Everyone doing something is what it’s all about, says Tony, who like John, has offered his time in a variety of ways over the years, from serving meals at the House to serving on the Atlanta RMHC Board of Directors. And when he talks to potential donors, he relies on the real stories he knows by heart, told to him by parents who’ve shared their heartbreak and joy because they’re grateful for what the House offered during that time.
“This isn’t something removed in some distant place,” Tony says. “This is local. It’s a community effort that people can continue to help build.”