By CHARITY B. SMITH
Sunday Times Newspapers
MELVINDALE — The Police Department, along with Mayor Stacy Striz, took over McDonald’s, 4001 Oakwood Blvd. Aug. 10 as a fundraising event for the department’s Shop with a Cop.
The officers, along with Striz and Police Chief Chad Hayes donned McDonald’s uniforms with stickers that resembled police badges and read “Melvindale Police Junior Officer.” Six of the 25 officers on the Melvindale police force were temporarily employees of McDonald’s, operating the drive-through and front cash register, flipping burgers and serving fries.
Hayes operated the fries station, because “rank has its privilege,” he said.
It was a family affair for Striz, who’s 19-year old-son is a seasonal employee at McDonald’s. Ian Striz took on an extra shift, just to be able to work with his mom.
“It was hilarious,” Ian Striz said. “She is learning fast though. She is doing good.”
“It’s a great program and I love being able to be a part of it,” said Mayor Striz of Hayes’ invitation to join the police at McDonald’s. “It helps so many kids in the community.”
This is the second time the Melvindale police have gone to work at McDonald’s. The first time was in August 2008.
Rhonda Clancy, community relations coordinator for the Chapatwala Family McDonald’s Franchise, first developed the concept of a “McPolice Night,” in 2007 for a Lincoln Park police event.
“I realized we had a ‘McTeacher Night,’ where teachers, principals and counselors could come work for us to benefit schools, but nothing for police or firefighters,” Clancy said. “So when (Lincoln Park police) asked for a fundraiser I jumped at the idea and started calling it ‘McPolice Night,’ or ‘McFire Night’ depending on who the event is benefiting.”
Officers had a donation jar at the front counter, and many people just came in to donate to the cause.
“I’m here for the city,” said Jeff Fenton, who coaches in the Melvindale Little League. “They’re always helping people and the kids. So I just came by to donate.”
“It’s a good cause and a it’s a fun way to raise money,” said Mike Goch, owner of Goch and Son’s Towing. “It is very generous of McDonalds to do this for them.”
“Seeing the officers presence gives comfort to the community,”
Councilwoman Nicole Bamas said.
In all the police were able to raise just shy of $1,200. The Chapatwala family upped their donation percentage from 15 percent of their sales during that time period to 25 percent, donating a total of $370, and the officers received nearly $800 in tips during the event.
“It’s very awesome, especially in this economy and in a small town,” Clancy said on hearing how much was raised.
Melvindale police are planning on taking to the street corners this fall to raise more money for the Shop with a Cop cause, which allows for 12 to 15 underprivileged children to go Christmas shopping for themselves and their families.
(Charity B. Smith can be reached at email@example.com.)