In the beginning of the year we – the Social Action Committee – started planning a volunteer event at the Ronald McDonald House (RMH) here in Dallas.
We quickly settled on a breakfast date and in early June we had our actual meal planning session.
Since this was a first time for most of us, we wanted to make something easy but appetizing without a major cooking effort.
We agreed on breakfast tacos, cereals, yogurt and a bunch of ready-made sweet items.
Shopping was easy, just a little doubt on the quantities, breakfast for 50 is really hard to calculate.
One of our members went to the orientation session at the RMH and was delighted on how warm and easy going the staff was and that besides hygiene rules everything else was pretty much straight forward.
Last year during one of my travels, my seat neighbor on the plane actually had lived for a couple of weeks at the RMH in Dallas. Her child had been born with a major illness and although she was living in a different state, her doctor had referred her to our Scottish Rite Hospital. So from one day to the other, she and her husband had to pack up the baby and the older sibling and travel to Dallas without knowing anyone in our city, facing major health bills and mainly the biggest scare of their lives.
The family had been welcomed at the RMH and stayed there during the whole treatment, depending on volunteers like us for breakfast, lunch and dinner while their lives were on hold.
During these hard time though this family received so much kindness not only from RMH but also from the hospital. No treatment was refused and financial help was offered.
Everything turned out fine for them – I do like happy endings. They actually moved to Dallas ever since and are huge supporters of the Dallas Marathon which raises funds for the Children’s Hospital in downtown.
So last Sunday we the 12 volunteers got up around 4:30 AM, drove down to the medical district and started our cooking session at 6 AM sharp. None of us knew what to expect and in fact many of us did not even know each other. Luckily, I have to say, what we found was a beautiful, modern facility full of light and warmth.
The kitchen was fully equipped, practical and without much discussion our little group got into gear.
We all worked cohesively and divided up the task of preparing the breakfast.
The inhabitants started to trickle in around 7:30. Individuals, husbands and wives, and full families even with little children, they were all very quiet, probably preoccupied with their upcoming day at the hospital.
All of them were so polite, I really think each and every one said thank you to us.
There were no complaints and I am pretty sure even though we served up a very satisfying breakfast we are not gourmet cooks when it comes to larges quantities.
Every day, children and families can arrive at the RMH, here in Dallas or just anywhere in the US, seeking a home away from home, during a very difficult time in their lives. The work done by volunteers and staff, Jewish or not is a step into Tikkun Olam – repairing and perfecting the world.
This breakfast event brought our group closer together and we left with a sense of accomplishment, our small favor gave these families a nice start of their day. It does not take much, a cup of coffee, a small meal, a warm smile, a little bit of time ….
We are signing up again.
What are you doing on December 25th?
I can’t think of anything better than preparing a special dinner for the future resident