Thank you for your interest in donating your time and talents to prepare a meal for the families staying at the Ronald McDonald House in Iowa City or the Family Rooms at St. Luke’s or the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital 3rd floor. Coming home to a hot meal after a long day at the hospital can bring a great deal of relief to a family.
Families staying at the Ronald McDonald House of Iowa City or using the Family Rooms at St. Luke’s and the UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital come from a variety of backgrounds. The one thing they have in common is a child with a serious illness or condition. Many families are under a great deal of stress and appreciate coming back to the House or Family Room for a home-cooked meal after a long day. It’s important to understand that family schedules are varied and unpredictable. Families may be unable to return for dinner or brunch, but will be able to enjoy the leftovers.
All meals provided by groups must be prepared and cooked onsite, unless prepared at a licensed commercial kitchen and delivered directly from the licensed establishment in a short period of time.
The Ronald McDonald House and Family Rooms must be concerned with communicable diseases because we have children staying here with suppressed immune systems and common communicable diseases can be life threatening for these children. Each person entering the House and/or Family Room must complete a Communicable Disease form prior to preparing or serving a meal. The form can be completed in advance or upon arrival and turned into the manager..
What You Need to Know
It is important to bring enough people to help set up, serve, and clean up. The House has all the necessary pans, dishes, silverware, etc., however, you are welcome to bring paper plates or plastic ware. The House has four separate kitchen modules, each equipped with range, microwave, sink, dishwasher, and refrigerator. The Family Room kitchens have everything you will need including an oven, electric skillet, microwave, pots and pans, baking sheets, utensils, etc. Please note: the Family Rooms do not have a stovetops.
How many people should you plan to serve?
The House serves 31 families with an average of at least 2 people per room. Although the number of guests vary day-to-day, it is safe to assume that you will be serving 35-45 people. Please understand our families have different, unpredictable schedules subject to frequent changes. They are not always able to make it back in time for dinner, but leftovers are placed in the refrigerators for families to enjoy when they return from the hospital.
The Family Rooms typically serve about 25 people each night.
How many people should we bring to help prepare the meal?
Meals are typically served at 5:30pm.
The House prefers that your group not exceed 10 people. A smaller group provides you with a better opportunity to interact with our families, and larger groups tends to overwhelm our families and discourage interaction.
The Family Room kitchens have room for up to five chefs.
What should we make?
We encourage your creativity, as we tend to have an abundance of spaghetti, lasagna, and taco meals. Think about what you do best, your special dishes, and those for which you receive compliments.
Your menu does not need to meet any dietary restrictions. It should be balanced, though, with vegetables, bread, and dessert. The families usually have their own milk, juice, or pop. However, you are welcome to bring beverages.
- Dinner ideas: Beef, chicken, pork, casseroles, sub sandwiches, homemade soups, breakfast for dinner, and baked potato bar
- Meals with a theme: Italian Night, Mexican Night, Chinese Night, Pizza Night
Your group will be responsible for planning the menu, providing the groceries, preparing the meal, and clean up. Remember that leftovers equal tomorrow’s lunch. We have containers on hand to store any leftovers. Please attach a label with the date and contents on each container before placing in the fridge. Please hand-wash any trays, pans, and cookie sheets, which are otherwise damaging to the dishwashers. All other dirty dishes and utensils can be placed in the dishwasher. If the dishwasher is full, please hand-wash any remaining items. Wipe down counter tops with disinfectant spray, sweep the floor, empty the garbage can, and place new liners in the can, if needed. Staff will be on hand to help with clean up and returning the items used to their proper locations
What time is dinner served?
Meal times are available any day of the week. The recommended time to have dinner ready is 5:30PM – 6:00PM.
Where do we park?
Parking near the Ronald McDonald House is limited and strictly enforced by the University of Iowa. Please park in the metered stalls of the Carver Hawkeye Arena Lot if you will be arriving before 4:30 PM. If you will be arriving after 4:30 PM or providing a weekend meal, you may park anywhere in the Carver Hawkeye Arena Lot for free.
The Ronald McDonald Family Room at St. Luke’s is located within the Helen G. Nassif Center for Women’s and Children’s Health located at 150 11th St. NE in Cedar Rapids. Parking is available in the surface lot or parking ramp immediately across the street. Everyone from your group will need to check in at the front desk within the lobby on the main level. Once checked in, you will be able to take the elevator to the second floor where the Family Room is located. Take a left off of the elevator and then take a right at the nurses’ station. The entrance to the Family Room will be on your right where you can check in with the Family Room staff.
The Ronald McDonald Family Room at the UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital is located on the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit on the 3rd floor. You will need to park in Parking Ramp 2 and take the public elevators up to the 3rd floor. The Family Room is on the left after you are admitted on to the floor.
Thank you again for your interest in donating your time, effort and talent to cook for our families. Your kindness helps us keep families close to each other and the care they need, when they need it most. Please contact Shannon Greene at 319-356-3939 or [email protected] make arrangements.
How do we sign up?
To volunteer to prepare a meal at the Ronald McDonald House in Iowa City, contact Lexie Lindner at 319-356-4417 or [email protected]
To volunteer to prepare a meal at the Family Room at St. Luke’s, contact Jenny Bosking [email protected] 319-369-5192.
To volunteer to prepare a meal at the Family Room at UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital, contact Nikki Hines at [email protected] or 319-678-5195.
Thank you for volunteering. You really do make a difference in the lives of the families we serve!