A few posts ago I mentioned the Ronald McDonald House of Chapel Hill. This house provides a (free) home for families of hospitalized children to stay for the duration of the child’s treatment. I am happy to have continued my volunteering there this semester. The way it works, is I work a 3 hour a week shift arriving at the house at 6pm. I say hi to the girls in the shift before me, check what is for dinner and then make the announcement for dinner over the PA. This is usually done in the accent or includes the language of the meal the volunteers have prepared. Thus if it is pasta I will make the announcement in English with an Italian accent and so on, always a good laugh! . Then we might have to check in new families, prepare rooms for arriving families, make sure the kitchen is clean, and manage volunteer groups – normally undergrads and usually sororities, I love cracking the whip!
The people there are fantastic, the volunteers, the staff and the families. I specially bond with the Hispanic families as they appreciate being able to chat in Spanish. When I can check in a Hispanic family to the house their eyes light up to know we can do it in Spanish!
Finally it provides for a huge reality check when you see what these families and these children are going through, one realizes one has a pretty damn good life. It is a humbling experience. Since my sister works for the Ronald McDonald Houses in Spain, it makes for a very strong bond with the house. Occasionally they will need extra help with special events where it is always fun to help out. You get to meet interesting people while helping out!