NOVA Ronald McDonald House
A Reason to Wake Up Before Dawn
by Amanda Labuza
None of us were fans of waking up before 6 a.m., especially in February when the sun hasn’t even risen yet.
Nonetheless by 6:45 a.m. everyone was in the kitchen cooking. It took us a few minutes to search around the Ronald McDonald House kitchen to find all the bowls and pans we needed. We probably looked ridiculous opening and closing every drawer multiple times trying to find something as simple as a spatula. Once situated we were finally ready to start cooking!
If you were there you would have joined in laughing while I ruined a few slices of French toast on the make shift griddle. So I stepped back and let Spencer and Maria take over the grilling. I’m so lucky to have that role of overseeing. It is a precious experience to watch everyone forget about their own problems, being tired, needing to study, trying to plan experiments, and just focus on enjoying working with each other.
Once most of the food had been cooked all the volunteers were given the chance to join the residents of the Ronald McDonald House for a warm meal. The Ronald McDonald House provides a home away from home for families of sick children. While their child is seen by specialists in the area, or staying in the hospital through treatment, families (including siblings) can have a place to stay. All food is provided through volunteer groups. During this visit, we helped Spiderman’s biggest little fan get breakfast for his brother who was too sick to leave their room. We cooked so much food we had leftovers for them to eat whenever they had time! One girl I met was very happy she could save her french toast until after her tests that had to be taken in the morning on an empty stomach.
All of us had a great time helping at the Ronald McDonald House. I am so proud and thankful to all the volunteers who gave up their Thursday morning to help this wonderful cause. I was astonished to find our Graduate School has such a great initiative - we actually had to turn volunteers away! If you missed it this time, don’t worry. NOVA will be going back on April 9. The GPILS SAC will also be looking for volunteers for breakfasts throughout the semester. Don’t forget, you can sign up anytime you want with just a group of friends! The Ronald McDonald House is always looking for help with meals or their daily activity hours. They also look for donations to put in the families’ mailboxes such as activity books, toys, or home made crafts. I hope to see some of you join us for the sunrise from the Ronald McDonald House kitchen the next time we cook!
For more information on activities at the Ronald McDonald House contact their volunteer coordinator Amber Rose at email@example.com.