Tuesday, April 29th started like most Ohio spring mornings: with rain. But there was no way weather would keep our Learning Technology team down. Spearheaded by the efforts of Ashley Miller and thanks to economy-sized purchases at GFS, our team headed south to the Ronald McDonald House.
Across the street from Nationwide Children’s Hospital, the Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) of Central Ohio serves “families with seriously ill children by providing a home-away-from-home.” Our team was there for the day to cook and serve lunch, as well as take a tour of their wonderful facilities.
10AM strikes, and it’s time to start cooking. Our team unloads our supplies and is ready to make our home in the fully equipped RMHC kitchens. Today’s menu: grilled cheese sandwiches, tomato or chicken noodle soup, chips, fruit, and freshly baked cookies. With a plan to feed over 100 people, it was time to fire up the griddles. In true Hooker fashion, Dave gave an insightful recommendation of how we could perfect our grilled-cheese-making process by buttering the bread in one stint. A few slippery hands later, doing this streamlined the process … “like butter” a la Linda Richman of Mike Myers SNL fame.
Ashley, Cory, Liv, Tara, and Sam held down the fort in kitchen #1 helping with the main course duties. Armed with an impressive lineup of griddles, the grilled cheese sandwiches were toasted in amazing fashion and speed. Crock pots warmed with soups and the fruit and chips were spread over the island in great display. Even Steve Lieb pulled away from his paternity leave to be part of the experience, adding the intangible qualities that only Steve can.
Queenie and I were on cookie duty next door, working two ovens to bake cookies for our guests (and some ‘broken’ samples for us, too, for quality control). We were fortunate to have an RMHC guest cooking breakfast nearby, so our cookie making took place to the aroma of pan-fried bacon. With help from Tara, Ashley, and Cory, the cookie sheets had little rest until 150 gooey, chocolate chip cookies were baked and ready-to-go.
At 12PM, lunch was served. Engaging in conversations with RMHC guests, our LT team heard several touching stories and great testimonials on the services provided by the Ronald McDonald House Charities. After eating lunch ourselves, we took a tour of the facilities. It was impressive to see the role that local donors, professional teams, and community organizations played in the RMHC’s facilities and history. From arcades to laundry services to giant teddy bears (great for napping, btw), the RMHC provided all-inclusive amenities to its guests. We saw first-hand the value that this facility provides. It was not a hotel, but a home for families who have something much more important on their mind.
Wrapping up our tour, we snagged a photo op with Ronald himself, who sits on a bench at the entrance of the RMHC. And we got a great shot. Even though that April morning started overcast and rain, we walked into an amazingly sunny and warm afternoon. Coincidence … I think not. Just another perk of the RMHC.