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Freia David to Retire from Needham McDonald’s After 32 Years

Charles River Center, Needham

Freia David, a woman supported by the Charles River Center, is retiring from her job at McDonald’s in Needham after 32 years.  The McDonald’s at 340 Chestnut Street will hold a celebration in her honor on August 29th.

Freia (pronounced FRY- ah), who has Down syndrome, worked at the French fry station from 11 am to 2 pm, five days a week.  After the lunchtime rush, Freia would help clean up and interact with the customers, many of whom knew her by name.

Freia, who is 52 years old, has lived in Needham her entire life.  Her relationship with the Charles River Center began in 1966, when at the age of three, she started nursery school at the Center.  Today, she lives in a Charles River Center group home in Needham, and she will participate in the Charles River Center’s Day Habilitation program after her retirement from McDonald’s.  In her spare time, she enjoys drawing and listening to the oldies.  Her parents still live in Needham in the home where Freia grew up, and she has one sister who lives in Colorado and comes to visit each year on Freia’s birthday.

“Freia’s smile, her enthusiasm, and her daily hugs made our restaurant more than just a restaurant. She is loved and respected by all of our employees, customers, and anyone she has come into contact with. We are so sad that she is retiring, but very happy for the time we had to work with her. McDonald’s of Needham will never be the same again without Freia David,” said Timothy McCoy, Owner Operator of the Needham McDonald’s location.

"This has been a wonderful success story.  The Charles River Center helps people with developmental disabilities find jobs in their communities, and we are so thankful that McDonald's partnered with us long ago. They have been greatly rewarded with a diligent, good-natured, and dedicated employee in Freia David," said Anne-Marie Bajwa, Chief Operating Officer at the Charles River Center.

McDonald’s was one of the first local businesses to partner with the Charles River Center on employing individuals with developmental disabilities. Today, more than 80 individuals supported by Charles River hold jobs at companies such as TJ Maxx, CVS, Betrucci’s, Roche Bros., and many other local businesses.

Established in 1956, the Charles River Center is a nonprofit human services agency based in Needham, Massachusetts that provides employment and job training, housing, day habilitation programs, and camps and after school programs for over 950 children and adults with developmental disabilities such as Down syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy and others. It serves people in the towns of Needham, Newton, Wellesley, Dedham, Natick, and greater MetroWest Boston.