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Volunteers Serve Up Family Time During Meals


At the Ronald McDonald House, mealtime is a very important time for families to be together each day. After spending the day at the hospital, meals at the house are the time for family members to nourish their bodies, unwind, and regroup. It takes the efforts of many volunteers and food donors to make mealtime special for these families, and more help is needed year-round as more and more families take advantage of meals at the house.


Each year, thousands of pounds of food are prepared by hundreds of volunteers. In fact, by the end of this year, the Ronald McDonald House of San Diego will serve more than 36,000 meals to families in medical crisis. Whether the family is staying at the house or simply visiting, breakfast, lunch, and dinner are provided to them each day through the generosity of many volunteers and donors in San Diego County and beyond. In 2011, the number of meals served is expected to rise to 50,000.  


“Our need for volunteers to serve as dinner providers is ever-present as is the need to raise funds for groceries to feed our families each day,” explains Sandy Camarillo, COO for Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego, Inc, which operates the house. “For Christmas, our volunteers will prepare special turkey dinners for the families.”


Among the many volunteer groups who consistently participate in preparing and serving meals at the house are Viejas Casino and Resort, Shadow Mountain Church, Job Corps, Alpha Delta Pi sorority, The Backside of Giving, Southwest Airlines, North Island Credit Union, Circle Foods, Mira Mesa Assembly of God, Disney Store, and various Girl Scout troops and Kiwanis organizations.   


For the past seven years, Viejas Resort and Casino has become a family-favorite dinner provider. Each quarter, Viejas head chef Arnold Lopez directs his staff and tribal council member volunteers to serve a sumptuous meal for more than 100 moms, dads, and their children. A typical meal would include pork adobo, green salad, chicken fajitas, black beans, and rice and cake.


“You can always tell it’s a Viejas night at the house by the wonderful aromas coming from the kitchen, and the beautiful layout of their finest serving wares in the dining area,” says Camarillo. “Our families really look forward to the meals chef Arnold prepares for them.”


The Ronald McDonald House is always looking for new volunteers and donors to help with family meals and other activities. For more information, call or visit the Web site and type in the keywords: dinner program. (858/467-4750, www.rmhsd.org)


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