Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Volunteering at Ronald McDonald House

Last week, I cooked. was fruit salad and cupcakes, but still. I decided to wield a knife and mix batter all for a good cause. Cleveland Kiddos had reached out to area bloggers to see if we would be interested in getting together to prepare and serve a meal at the Ronald McDonald House. I jumped at the chance, because I try to give back to the community when I can and I know how much non-profits rely on volunteers (working for one myself).

From their website:
The Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland offers a place to call home at little or no cost so families can access the best health care, regardless of their location.  We allow families to stay together, which can help their children heal faster and cope better.

Our House enables families to focus on the health of their child rather than anything else – like paying bills, cooking meals, cleaning the House. We preserve a sense of normalcy with home-cooked meals, comfortable beds and recreational activities for the family to enjoy.  Most importantly, we help families create connections with other families, staff and volunteers.  In doing this, families have a support system to turn to during the most stressful moments of their lives.

So, on Monday, a group of us gathered, and our fearless leader tasked us with making a home-cooked meal of fried chicken (all hand-pounded, battered, and fried), macaroni and cheese, fruit salad, green beans, crudite, and cupcakes for dessert.
All of the supplies were donated by the group.
And we quickly jumped in and got to work in the very large and well-equipped kitchen.
Zone Defense and I tackled pineapple for the first time. I think we showed that pineapple who was boss.
If you see me in the kitchen with a knife this big, you should be afraid, be very afraid. However, I managed to not lose a finger or wound Mason.

Most of us didn't know each other when we started that day, but I think we worked efficiently and had great teamwork.
You always get to know people better when you are working on completing a task together. It's one of the things I love most about volunteer actives.
Our fruit salad started to look beautiful, if I do say so myself. I think fruit salad is one of the prettiest summer dishes that you can make. I love bringing it to parties.
After we finished preparing the cupcakes to bake, a couple of us broke away for a tour of the house. I was instantly impressed with the facility. It's so cozy, inviting, and they really do try to make it feel like a home for the patients and their families staying there.
They had all kinds of different shared living space, including an awesome playroom, cozy and large family room, and a modern computer space.
The Ronald McDonald House has been providing these services for 35 years in Cleveland. They were the ninth location to open internationally. Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northeast Ohio and McDonald's are partners in care and provide, through local donations, about 3.5% of their annual operating budget. The other 96.5% comes from gifts from individuals, corporations, organizations and foundations that support their mission. They truly are a local organization that is supported by this community. They also rely heavily on volunteers. One way that you can get involved is to donate your time, and food, to provide a meal for the families. They try to secure at least one meal per day.

I had to leave, unfortunately, before we got to serve the meal and host our cupcake decorating activity, but I heard that the families really enjoyed the home-cooked meal and had fun topping their cupcakes. I loved the experience of preparing the meal, even if I was a little frightened of the kitchen and had to steer clear of the raw chicken. Baby steps, people, baby steps.

A huge "thank you" to Jacquie for coordinating, and to the Ronald McDonald House for having us. It was an experience that I won't forget.


Angel said...

Good job guys!

Anonymous said...

Again and again I will say that I could have never done this without you guys! I couldn't have asked for a better group of people. I thought it was incredible how well we all worked together. It was so fun and made me really happy!

So nice to get to know you better and to work with you. I loved your write up! Thanks again!!!

Crystal @EatDrinkCLE said...

So sad I couldn't join you guys! Great cause and looks like it was really fun too.

Bite Buff said...

Thanks again, Jacquie!

Crystal- We missed you!