Flipping Mcdonald's Burgers To Fund Church's Mission

March 21, 1995|By Shirley Leung | Shirley Leung,Sun Staff Writer

No time for a choir or even a sermon during the Rev. James Manning's service tonight.

That's because his service will be taking orders for burgers, drawing drinks and tossing fries at the Odenton McDonald's in the 1500 block of Annapolis Road.

It's all part of an effort to raise money for the Nichols Bethel United Methodist Church youth group. The teens are planning a mission in July to repair dilapidated homes in Kentucky. They need $3,600 to pay for travel, lodging and equipment.

The group hopes to make $300 from the night at McDonald's, the third fund-raiser this year.

Mr. Manning and four other church leaders will work from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and take home 10 percent of the profits for the youth group.

"I do a lot of work at the church," said Mr. Manning, whose usual fund-raising tasks are serving spaghetti dinners. "I've never done anything like this."

The 59-year-old pastor said he's willing to do anything for a good cause, even it means donning a McDonald's cap and red-and-blue uniform. "[The youth] thought they could draw the congregation if the pastor is the menial servant," he reasoned.

The youth have also enlisted the service of lay leader Jack Webber, church secretary Carolyn Cooper, and youth group leaders Chris Wirt and Rodney Lundregan.

"We expect a lot of people to come by and snap pictures of [Mr. Webber] and Reverend Manning in a McDonald's cap, if for no other reason than to do that," Mr. Lundregan said.

And at least one person will bring a video camera. Mrs. Cooper's future son-in-a-law has told her he'll be there to record her fast-food stint.

To make sure the church's 600 members knew about the fund-raiser, Mr. Webber dressed in a McDonald's uniform for Sunday's service and gave a talk on the youth group's mission.

McDonald's started the fund-raising program to try to make up for the money lost when corporate cutbacks reduced the money available for charities, said Toyia Slay-Vines, owner of the Odenton McDonald's. The program attracts customers to the restaurant while helping groups raise money. "What happens is that we both benefit," she explained.

McDonald's gives the group three hours to work behind the counter, usually on a Tuesday or Wednesday night, which are the slowest times of the week.

In the three years the Odenton McDonald's has run the program, seven local schools have raised more than $10,000, said Ms. Slay-Vines. The most raised in one night has been $475.

The drawing card usually is a principal, a teacher or parent working.

"[Students] get so excited because they never see their principals [at McDonald's]," said Ms. Slay-Vines. And the principals and others who work often leave with a new-found appreciation for McDonald's, she added.

"You have to operate the registers, which are computerized. [A customer] will give you an order and then change it. Or he'll rattle off three orders of Happy Meals, each one with a different drink," recalled Barbara Sangabino, Odenton Elementary School principal and five-time veteran of "McFundraiser Night."

"It requires a lot of thinking, and you're on your feet," she added. "You should try it. You'll appreciate your own job."

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