By Marissa Vogel, Guest Blogger
I received a letter in the mail the other day from a family who stayed at the Ronald McDonald House thanking our group for coming in to make dinner.
“As little as you are, you are big helpers. Your help making dinner for the families at the Ronald McDonald House meant so much to us.”
It felt wonderful to receive such a kind note of appreciation. After reading it, though, I realized that I am equally grateful to the families staying at the Ronald McDonald House as well as the staff and volunteers there for always welcoming our group of family volunteers. While we may be helping them, they are helping us by giving our youngest community members a chance to give back and help others.
Last year our organization brought 121 family volunteers and 182 children ages 3-12 into the Ronald McDonald House to provide a meal and this year, we are poised to bring in a larger number. Our group has donated and prepared meals 2-3 times per month for the past 3 years, and to this day, it remains one of our most popular family volunteer opportunities.
While many of our family volunteers have heard of the Ronald McDonald House, most have never been to the House itself so the opportunity to help prepare a meal not only provides a meaningful volunteer experience, but a way to educate the entire family about the wonderful programs and services that Ronald McDonald House Charities provides to families in our community that are experiencing traumatic times.
We’ve also had volunteers that have stayed at the House themselves and coming back to volunteer has provided them an opportunity to “return the favor” as shared in A Meal to Remember, a feature story in our recent newsletter.
So what do our child volunteers think? We asked 6-year old Skye why she likes volunteering with us at the Ronald McDonald House.
“I like doing the Ronald McDonald House project so that I can make food for the families, and that makes them feel better. Since they are worried about their kids, at least they don’t have to worry about getting something to eat.”
Thanks Skye ~ I couldn’t have said it any better.
Marissa Vogel is founder and executive director of Little Helping Hands a local 501c3 nonprofit organization that provides ongoing opportunities to educate young children about the value of community service while at the same time providing a fun and positive learning experience for the entire family.