Finance and Business Services Serves Up a Scrumptious Meal at the Ronald McDonald House

By Tiffany M. Grant and Christal Wilson

The Ronald McDonald House is a home away from home that provides comfort, support and resources to families who travel far from home for medical care their child needs. For years, and before the COVID-19 pandemic, Facilities Services (FS) has been a long-time supporter at the south side Ronald McDonald House serving Comer Children’s Hospital.

As volunteers for the Meals from the Heart program, FS usually selects a menu for approval and presents it to staff at the house to ensure other volunteer groups are not serving the same meal during the same week. FS covers the cost of all food, does the grocery shopping, and bring food and supplies to the house. The volunteer group size is kept to a minimum to ensure there is enough space in the kitchen for everyone to work comfortably. In addition to the FS sponsored meals, the Finance and Business Services unit sponsors a separate meal that team members collectively cover the cost for.

RMH - FS Staff images

This winter, and for the first time since the pandemic, Finance and Business Services came together and cooked up another mouth-watering meal. Finance and Business Services does this as an annual team outing for team building, to deepen the team bond, to serve the community, and to showcase their culinary skills. Team members who participated for the first time were given a tour of the house and the history and purpose of it. The main course served was chipotle bowls. Manager of Financial Analysis, Christal Wilson, who coordinates the team event exclaimed, “I must say the spread was a big hit as we witnessed smiles on the residents’ faces, the many thanks, and most importantly the coming back for seconds.”

Wilson goes on and explains, no matter how many times we have done this, it is always a selfless, humbling and rewarding experience. We had the honor and privilege to prepare a meal for 25 people staying at the house and we were able to interact with some of the residents. That evening we met one little brave girl, who is a patient at the children’s hospital. She boldly and comfortably led her father in the kitchen to get an ice cream scooper. It was dessert time for her! We caught the hint and let them know that we brought ice cream as well and they could preserve their personal ice cream for another time. Not only does preparing meals benefit our team as a bonding opportunity, but it also provides benefits to the families staying at the House. Here are some reasons, I encourage other FS teams to prepare a “Meal from the Heart” at Ronald McDonald House near UChicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital:

It supports families emotionally and nutritionally. Providing families with home-cooked meals can offer comfort and support during a challenging time. Home-cooked meals provide nutritious options that can enhance the health and wellness of families and caregivers staying at the house.

It supports community engagement. As members of the University of Chicago community, it fosters a sense of belonging and solidarity among individuals who want to make a positive difference.

RMH - More FS Staff Images

It is an opportunity to offset dining expenses for families. This one is near and dear to the Finance & Business Services team: Cost Savings! Families staying at the house may have limited financial resources due to medical expenses. By providing meals, they can save money on dining expenses.It builds community: Sharing meals together creates a community for families facing medical challenges, allowing them to connect and support each other in a comforting environment.

So, please consider volunteering with your team. Trust me, it is a meaningful experience.

One of the team’s highlights that evening is a true testament of great teamwork. The pound cake! There was one team member who could not make it in time to prepare and bake her treasured pound cake due to a scheduled meeting. While she was back in the office and during the meeting, she texted information to the team at the house, sporadically! So, the recipe, measurements and steps were intermittently texted to one team member, who then had to translate and deliver to the team member making the pound cake. There were timing delays in transmittals that posed questions like what’s next? Did she text the next steps yet? By the end of the evening, the cake was successfully made. The cake was scrumptious and tasted exactly like the team member’s version who usually bakes it. The Finance and Business Service team made Sporadic Scrumptious!

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UChicagoSocial: Facilities Services