Service Lessons: Ronald McDonald House Charities

Staff Council members volunteered to prepare and serve two meals for the Ronald McDonald House Charities at Children’s Mercy Hospital in the month on January, along with doing a supply drive for their pantries. If you or a group you are involved with are looking for a service project to get involved in, consider this wonderful opportunity!

We did the Cooks for Kids meal program at the Family Room inside Children’s Mercy and then at Longfellow House. Here are some strategies and tips for keeping the planning and preparing a meal easy and fun.

  • First, check out the meal calendar. Consider what would work best for your group, a weekend lunch? A weeknight dinner? We did one of each in order to fit a variety of schedules. For the dinner, we also split the meal up into two shifts: preparation/setup and serving/cleanup, with about 30 minutes overlapping. That method seemed to work well to balance the tasks and allow for flexibility in different schedules.
  • Look at the meals that are scheduled around yours to make sure to keep meals diverse.
  • If your group is having a hard time deciding what to make for the meal, have everyone put one idea and draw. Or have the leader of your group pick. Consider your favorite home-cooked meal.
  • Consider a main dish, a side dish, dessert, drinks, a vegetarian option (if meat can’t be forgone in serving), and service ware (plates, cups, napkins, forks, etc.). The kitchens will have knives, pots and pans, serving bowls and utensils.
  • Prepare a grocery list and have everyone in your group sign up to bring a few things from it.
  • Estimating quantity is tough! We ran out of meat one day and had enough rice left over to feed an army. Consider what you would buy for four people and times by ten to get what you need for about 50.
  • Provide for time to sign into the hospital if you are volunteering in the Family Room inside Children’s Mercy.

If you already volunteer for Cooks for Kids and want to share any of your ideas for a successful volunteering experience, please share in the comments. If you are interested in joining Outreach Committee or in finding out about future service opportunities, please email Alicen at