This year during the fourth night of Hanukkah the Social Action Team cooked and served a full Christmas dinner for the residents at the Ronald McDonald House here in Dallas.
For several years already Steve and I had wanted to work on community outreach on a day where our Christian Friends celebrate a holiday and are busy with their families.
This year finally it all came together. After the breakfast we prepared earlier in the year at the RMH we were looking to find another date to renew the experience and Christmas Day came along.
I have to say that most of us on the Social Action Team were probably worried, preparing dinner for 100 guests can be challenging. There are some things to consider such as quantities of food needed, purchasing and storing all these items before the day of volunteering, ensuring that we account for everything and have enough help. Sometimes also recipes when doubled or tripled just don’t turn out that well and there is always the fear of preparing something that does not taste good.
But things turned out well, we agreed quickly on a menu during our prep meetings, the shopping kind of organized itself; we received donations from inside and outside our group and all scheduled helpers arrived on time.
On December 25th around 2:30 P.M. we arrived at the RMH, schleppt all the groceries in and got set up.
We got busy right away. We started to carve the turkeys, chop onions and celery for the stuffing, cook the green beans, prepare the mashed potatoes and arrange deserts. All that while schmoozing with each other.
Little by little our guests arrived and around 5 P.M. we started to serve dinner. In the meantime another organization had joined us with gifts and games for all the kids stuck at the RMH over the holidays.
The ambiance was somewhere between joyful, thankful and probably worrisome. Some really young kids were playing class clown but most kids were quiet as well.
There are the parents who want to share their stories and others do not. So you listen and you don’t ask. One of the dad’s spoke to us for a longer time and we could feel his relief and joy. After one year in the hospital (one year at RMH for the family) and three operations, his child will finally be released home next week.
Listening to him made me feel humble and realize how lucky we all are.
Around 6:30 P.M. we started the cleanup. Many of the RMH residents thanked us; some even asked for recipes, others just shook our hands.
We drove home and then lit up our Menorah to celebrate the fourth night. Looking at the candles burning down and enjoying their warmth, I hope that the light from our Menorah will bring some light and comfort to all the families in need.
To close a big thank you to everyone who helped and/or donated to this volunteer event.
You made the Menorah shiner brighter and longer.