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SALT LAKE CITY — For the past 25 years The Ronald McDonald House in Salt Lake City has been a haven for more than 40,000 families of children receiving treatment at area hospitals - but taking care of these families wouldn't be possible without volunteers.
"In our organization, volunteers provide much of the heavy lifting," said Carrie Romano, Ronald McDonald House Charities Executive Director of the Intermountain Area. "They drive families to and from the hospital in our shuttles. They check families in, and they are often the first face a family sees when they arrive and the last face they see before they go to bed. They lovingly prepare meals for families, and without them our work would not be possible."
One of the programs that Ronald McDonald Charities are in most need of is volunteers for their adopt-a-meal program. Volunteers provide and prepare a much needed healthy, hot meal service to families who are supporting their sick children and often don't have the time, funds, or energy for themselves and their other family members.
The adopt-a-meal program is a lovely way for businesses, civic organizations, families, and church groups to get involved and support the mission of Ronald McDonald Charities.
–- Carrie Romano, Ronald McDonald House Charities
"The adopt-a-meal program is a lovely way for businesses, civic organizations, families, and church groups to get involved and support the mission of Ronald McDonald Charities by coming on-site either to our main House location on South Temple or at our Family Room at Primary Children's Hospital and preparing meals for families," said Romano. "Our families really love and appreciate the meals and the great thing is that anyone can do it. You can get together with a group of friends or family members, company or church group and give love through food."
Tami Leavitt from Henderson, Nevada, has a daughter at Primary Children's Hospital. She's been using the services at the Ronald McDonald's family room at the hospital and is grateful for those in the community who've helped her and her family.
"You walk through that door from Primary's to the Ronald McDonald Family room and it's a different atmosphere." said Leavitt. "It's been nice on the nights they've had dinners brought in because sometimes your sick child doesn't want you gone for very long, and so you have to grab something and run back."
You walk through that door from Primary's to the Ronald McDonald Family room and it's a different atmosphere.
–- Tami Leavitt, served by Ronald McDonald House
The Board of Health does require that all meals be prepared from start to finish in Ronald McDonald kitchens, but many volunteers see that as one of the highlights of volunteering.
"We prepared breakfast at the Ronald McDonald Family Room at Primary's after gathering a few donations from our co-workers," said Cindy Smith or WCF. "I was truly overwhelmed by how many took time to come and thank us for breakfast. I'm really glad we did it, and I look forward to doing it again."
The program is for groups with a maximum of 8 volunteers. Volunteers can prepare breakfast, sack lunches, or dinner. On average, most meals take about 1-2 hours to prepare depending on how complex the meal.
Breakfast: Food for about 35-40 people
Lunch: Food for 25-30 sack lunches
Dinner: Food for 50-60 people if you are making dinner
For more information or to register for the adopt-a-meal program, visit www.ronaldmcdonaldhouseutah.org or call 801-363-4663.