This Tuesday the Richmond-based Australian Football team, RVA Lions, hosted a screening of Australian film The Merger, to celebrate World Refugee Day. McDonald's sponsored the event as part of their worldwide Favorites campaign, which has introduced (for a limited time) international menu items to McDonald's restaurants in Richmond.
The film, which portrays the story of a struggling Australian Football team that grows into champions through the inclusion of refugee players, debuted at the 2018 Melbourne International Film Festival.
“It’s a wonderful story,” said Manyang Reath Kher, who was resettled in Richmond in the aftermath of violent conflict in Sudan. “It brings people together. People are supposed to help each other,” said Kher about the film.
Australian football is a sport that uses a ball that is similar in shape to that of rugby, but has its own rules. Richmond is the 44th city in the United States to have a team, called the RVA Lions. It was the sport featured in The Merger, the team that included refugees went on to win a tournament.
The showing was attended by approximately 70 people, whose ticket proceeds benefitted the International Rescue Mission, ReEstablish Richmond, and the Commonwealth Catholic Charities.
“It inspires me a lot and broadens my perspective,” Shuang Hu, an exchange student from China who also attended the screening.
McDonald's raffled off prizes, including gift cards so that audience members could try the Worldwide Favorites Menu, including the Australian feature - Cheesy Bacon Fries. Other menu items include a Tomato-Mozzarella Chicken sandwich from Canada, a Stroop Waffle McFlurry from The Netherlands, and a Grand McBacon Extreme Burger from Spain.
“My boys like the cheesy bacon fries at home,” said David Boyle, an Australian who recently moved from Brisbane to Richmond. “I’ve just moved to the U.S. willingly and it’s been difficult,” he said, explaining that two of his sons did not relocate with him. “The whole concept of refugees coming to a new place under pressure, like war, I can’t imagine,” Boyle said.
When asked what other dishes he missed from Australia, Pete Gunning, another Australian who attended the screening, said: “sausage raw”.
"There are 68 McDonalds in the greater Richmond area, and I'm always on the lookout for ways to help them support the community. The organizations participating this evening are doing the good work. I'm so happy that McDonald's could play a small part in the celebration and fundraising efforts." said Christina Dick of Tiramisu For Breakfast Agency, McDonalds local PR firm.