Prepare a Meal

Meal Groups are temporarily suspended

Our families look forward to a home-cooked meal after a long day at the hospital. Until volunteers are allowed in our kitchen, catered meals are appreciated for our families in any of our three locations:  Ronald McDonald House in Iowa City; Ronald McDonald Family Room at UnityPoint St. Luke’s in Cedar Rapids; and Ronald McDonald Family Room at UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital in Iowa City. Interested in catering a meal for our families? Click the button below.

When meal groups resume, here's what you need to know:

  • Dinner is served buffet-style at 5:30 pm each evening. You are welcome to come as early as you need to prepare your meal. Once the meal is set out, our staff will monitor and package any leftovers for families to enjoy later.
  • Volunteer group size: For the House- you may bring up to 10 people. For the Family Rooms, you may bring up to 5 people.
  • All volunteers must be at least 14 years old. This applies to all locations.
  • For the House, please prepare enough for 50 people. For either of the Family Rooms, please prepare enough for 35 people.
  • When you select your date, please look at what other groups are making so we don’t have the same meal twice a week. Your menu does not need to meet any particular dietary restriction.
  • Groups bring all ingredients and prepare the meal onsite. (Sorry, due to food safety guidelines, we cannot serve food already prepared at home).  Groups may also bring food prepared in a commercial kitchen or order food to be delivered from a restaurant.
  • Please email your menu and related recipes to prior to your scheduled shift.
  • Pots, pans, tableware, utensils, etc. are provided. If you have a special need, please let us know.
  • At the Ronald McDonald House in Iowa City, four ovens, four microwaves, two Instantpots, an electric griddle, and multiple crockpots are available. St. Luke’s Family Room has one microwave, one oven (no stovetop), electric skillets, griddle, three large crockpots, and an Instantpot. UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital Family Room has one oven, one countertop toaster oven, one microwave, a steam pot, three slow cookers, and electric skillets.
  • Please contact us in advance if your group is interested in preparing extra so your group may eat the meal as well. While staff and volunteers do not eat with our families, we would be happy to arrange private space for you when available.
  • Please be prepared to pay for parking.  Please read through the parking information below.
  • Not sure what you’d like to make? Visit our online cookbook for ideas:

Where do we park?

Ronald McDonald House, 730 Hawkins Drive, Iowa City.

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.

Ronald McDonald Family Room at St. Luke’s, located within the Helen G. Nassif Center for Women’s and Children’s Health located at 150 11th St. NE in Cedar Rapids.

Free 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.

Ronald McDonald Family Room at the UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital, 200 Hawkins Drive, located on the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit on the 3rd floor.

We suggest parking in Ramp 2 (underground ramp) and take the South parking elevator to Ground floor, then take the Children’s Hospital elevators up to the 3rd floor. The Family Room is on the left after you are admitted on to the floor. Cost of parking will depend on your length of stay.

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.


Ronald McDonald House:  Jessica Field, Family Program & Volunteer Coordinator, 319-356-4417.

Family Room at St. Luke’s:  Lynn Butterbrodt, Family Room Coordinator, 319-369-5192.

Family Room at UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital:  Nikki Hines, Family Room Manager, 319-678-5195.