Family Dinners

Many of the parents and other family members at the Ronald McDonald House do not feel they can take the time to prepare adequate meals because it is additional time that they will be away from their sick child or infant. This being one of the most stressful situations they will ever endure makes it even more important to eat at least one good meal a day. Our “Family Dinner Program” allows families to relax and enjoy an evening meal at the Ronald McDonald House every night of the week, thanks to the generosity of many groups, businesses and individuals. These meals can be prepared at the House or brought in ready to eat. They can have a casual feel or the format of a sit-down dinner. It’s all up to the person or group involved in planning and preparing the meal. Would you be interested in adopting a Family Dinner Night at the Ronald McDonald House? This project not only allows you to do something outstanding to help others in need, but also gives you and your friends, family or fellow employees a fun and rewarding volunteer experience.

It’s easy!  You or your group will provide the groceries and the food can be prepared at the Ronald McDonald House or outside the House and brought in. You can eat with the families and offer not only a delicious, hot, home-cooked meal, but also the fellowship of kind words and support to these parents. If you’re not certain what to do with the leftovers, they are always a welcome sight to those who stay late at the hospital (our kitchen is usually pretty busy between 10 p.m. and midnight). Our families truly appreciate the home-cooked meals and the fellowship of those who provide dinners.

If you would like to schedule a dinner or if you have any questions, please contact:
Melanie Ward at the House near Cox South at 417.875.3501
or Susan Green at the House inside Mercy Kids at 417.820-0764

Scheduling Options

A. One time preparation of a dinner.

B. One dinner per quarter.

C. One dinner per month.

D. One dinner per week.

When is Dinner served at the Ronald McDonald House?

Dinner is served nightly at 6:30pm.

How many families will my group be serving?

Please contact the House you will be serving at the contact information above.

Are there opportunities available to serve additional meals?

Absolutely! If your group is not available to serve dinner, we invite you to prepare breakfast or lunch for our families. Because many families spend the majority of their day at the hospital with their children, fewer families are able to attend these meals, unless they have plenty of notice. If the meal is scheduled at least a week in advance we can inform our families so that they can plan accordingly.

1. Before any food preparation begins, each group member is required to wash his or her hands and forearms for at least 20 seconds with warm soapy water. Wash your hands frequently, especially between handling raw food and ready-to-eat food to prevent cross-contamination.

2. Gloves must be worn at all times when handling ready-to-eat food. This includes, but is not limited to bread, chips, cookies, vegetables, etc. Gloves are provided in the kitchen. If you are preparing the meal at home, you may stop by the Ronald McDonald House prior to your scheduled date to pick up gloves.

3. Aprons are provided for your use while at the House. We encourage you to wear these at all times when preparing and serving the meal.

4. Ball caps and hair nets are also provided at the House. If you have longer hair, we ask that you pull it back in a pony tail before you begin the meal preparations.

5. When cooking meats, please ensure the proper temperature is reached for food safety. We have two meat thermometers available in the kitchen. Most meats need to reach at least 160o F before consumption.

6. Items that are packaged in abundance, such as potato chips, should be placed in bowls and served with a gloved hand or tongs should be available with the item for proper disbursement.

7. Any cloths that are used should be used for one purpose and then immediately put in the dirty cloths receptacle for washing. Food spills should be cleaned up immediately and the cloth should be rinsed in the sink before being put in the receptacle.

8. All leftovers need to be properly stored in appropriate containers. Please use containers with lids or zip lock bags to store food in the refrigerator or freezer. Any item that can be individually wrapped will need to be wrapped as soon as the meal is over. We have foil and clear wrap in the cabinets for this purpose.

9. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly before using the ice machine and scoop. Place the scoop back in the appropriate holder when finished.

10. All dinnerware needs to be placed in the dishwashers so they can be properly cleaned and sanitized.

Thank you for taking time to contribute to our Family Dinner Program. We appreciate all that you do for the families and children.

1. Please limit the size of your group to no more than 8 -10 people. This will ensure a favorable experience for your organization as well as the Ronald McDonald House families. If there are several people from your business or church that are interested, break them up into small groups.

2. All children/teens must be accompanied by adult sponsors – at least one adult per five children.

3. Please remind your participants that they should not come if they have a fever, are not feeling well or think they may have been exposed to a communicable disease. (example: chicken pox) Any exposure could be very harmful to immunosuppressed children. In addition, any ill member of your group should not prepare any portion of the meal to be brought to the House.

4. Food can be prepared outside the Ronald McDonald House and brought in or you can prepare the entire meal at the Ronald McDonald House. Food may also be purchased already cooked and other items added to it to make a meal, such as fried chicken, pizza, etc. Please no spaghetti dinners – this is something that can be fixed quickly by the families and is eaten very often. We have plenty of items in our pantry if you would like to use them for your meal.

5. When scheduling a dinner, it is best to plan to begin serving sometime between 6:15 PM and 6:30 PM. Some groups prefer to set the tables and serve the families while others set the food out buffet-style and allow them to walk through.

6. Please realize that hospital schedules and patient treatment times vary. We never know an exact number of people that will be eating and can only give you an estimate (approximately 15 to 25 people). It is helpful to call and confirm this estimate count a few days ahead.

7. Our kitchen is well stocked with dishes, glasses, pots & pans, and utensils. We also have a gas grill on our back deck at the House near Cox South if grilling is something your group may enjoy.

8. You are also responsible for clean up. If you would like to prepare a meal, but do not have the manpower to help serve and clean up, please let us know and we may be able to coordinate efforts with one of our Assistant Managers.

Scheduling Options

A. One time preparation of a dinner.
B. One dinner per quarter.
C. One dinner per month.
D. One dinner per week.

Click here to download a PDF version of the guidelines for family dinners.

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