Shanti Sivaraj said the St Vincent de Paul Society provided him and his family with support when they first arrived in Australia from Sri Lanka in 1988.
‘We arrived with nothing, we had no furniture, no fridge, no bedding, nothing,’ he said.
‘The people from Vinnies heard about our situation and came by with a truck filled with things for us but we were too shy and too proud to accept it.
‘The only things we did take were two china plates, to eat our dinner off ” I still have those two plates.
‘They hang in my office to remind me of my beginnings, of how hard I’ve worked to get to where I am today and the help I’ve had along the way.
‘They remind me there are people in the community who need a helping hand and I make sure everyone in my family business, including my staff, know the importance of supporting others.’
Mr Sivaraj this month opened his fifth McDonald’s restaurant, in Yanchep, and on Saturday, September 27 will donate $1 for every coffee sold to the charity.
He will also be donating $1 to the Yanchep Two Rocks Lions Club for every Big Mac sold the same day, having supported Lions branches in Sri Lanka and whilst living in Broome.
Local Lions president Malcolm Gow said the club usually raised funds through delivering leaflets, holding sausage sizzles, and selling confectionary.
‘We raised $11,000 last year, providing support to 22 charities and groups,’ he said.
‘We’re grateful for this donation as it will help us reach our objective of raising more funds than last year to continue to support organisations locally and state wide.’
Mr Sivaraj already owns and operates McDonald’s restaurants in Butler, Currambine, Joondalup and Mindarie.
Ronald McDonald and friends will be at the opening on September 27, with balloons and free face painting from 11am to 1pm.