Restaurant’s employee service option defines altruism

John and Robyn Snowberger are well known for their community leadership and tireless volunteer efforts. Now they’ve taken “giving back” to a higher level.

The owners of four local McDonald’s restaurants are paying their employees to get involved in community projects.

With the Portales McDonald’s closed while they build a new restaurant slated to open in August, the Snowbergers have sent two employees — Candace Ramos and LaShay Duran — into the community to help with childcare at the New Mexico Baptist Children’s Home.

The Snowbergers see the contribution as a return on the community’s investment in them.

“That was my first restaurant I owned and Portales has been so good to me, this is my opportunity to give back,” John Snowberger told Portales News-Tribune senior writer Christina Calloway. “I’m also trying to keep my employees paid. They can’t take off for three months. This is a win-win.”

The Snowbergers have offered their Portales employees a chance to work at their three Clovis McDonald’s restaurants in addition to the public service.

Portales Recreation Center, the Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office and Eastern New Mexico University are also expected to use McDonald’s employees this summer.

This is our idea of community service at its finest. It’s not the kind funded by taxpayer dollars; it’s altruism in a pure form.

Think, too, of what the employees are getting in return, in addition to a paycheck from their employer.

Duran told the News-Tribune that the children’s stories have touched her heart.

“Being with these kids,” Duran said, “they have a story behind them that a lot of people don’t understand and they need people to love them. I like knowing we’re a part of that experience.”

As politicians from Santa Fe to Washington, D.C., shout past each other over the role that government should play in helping people, eastern New Mexico is witnessing another approach to outreach that ought to be emulated whenever possible.

The Snowbergers embody the spirit of selflessness that defines so many of us who live on the High Plains.

John Snowberger calls it a “win-win.” Indeed, and the community is the big winner.

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