Have you ever thought about how you can give a little back to the community without spending months wading through swamps counting rare frogs? Perhaps you should consider the 'Make A Meal' program for one of the Ronald McDonald Houses?
Attached to the major women's and children's hospitals such as Princess Margaret Hospital in Perth and Sydney Children's Hospital in Sydney, there are now 13 Ronald McDonald Houses across Australia. They are a home away from home for the families of seriously sick children who are undergoing treatment at hospital. But unless you are one of the 65,000 families who have been helped by Ronald McDonald House you have probably never been inside one of these amazing places.
The Make A Meal Program involves a small team of volunteers providing all the ingredients for a two course dinner and then cooking it on-site. Not having to worry about what is for dinner may seem like a small thing, but it is something that your book club, or footy club, or neighbours can do in an evening, and it gives the families a chance to concentrate on what is most important – helping their ill children. Families are often uprooted from their normal lives with little warning and can spend weeks or even months many thousands of kilometres from home.
The night we cooked, there were six of us from our Mum's Group. Someone had organised the recipes (meatloaf, quiche, salad and self-saucing puddings), and we brought our own ingredients. When the meal was ready we were invited to sit and eat with the families. Even though there was the inevitable sadness knowing each of these families had a seriously ill child a few hundred metres up the road, it didn't take much to find a common thread and spend the night chatting like old friends.
Taking part in the Make A Meal program can be a one-off or a regular gig, and no one is expecting you to cook like you're on Master Chef. Well, perhaps no one is expecting high cuisine, but cooking from the heart will certainly make you a winner.
What a great idea - I think I'll get my mothers' group to sign up for this too! (though I pity the poor families who have to eat the food I cook ... perhaps I'll be the organiser!)
By Anonymous Friday, 24th of June @ 02:41 pm
If I have one piece of advice it is to ask the house manager what has been on the menu for the past week or two, that way you won't be dishing up the same meals the families have been eating ad nauseum. We did chocolate self-saucing pudding in a slow cooker (I never knew you could do pudding in a slow cooker) and it was great because it freed up space in the ovens for the main meals. Have fun and thanks for commenting.
Fantastic work on promoting this cause. My niece recently spent over 9 months in Randwick Children's Hospital being treated for acute myeloid leukemia and RMH were an amazing support to her and our family.
By Emma Hilton - senior reviewer Thursday, 19th of July @ 11:09 pm