This week was super unique at Ronald McDonald House, especially since it started off on Monday with one of our biggest fundraising events of the year! The 31st Annual Joe Mortellaro Golf Classic was a HUGE event, with over 400 golfers that were split among 5 different golf courses in the Dublin/Powell area, along with several more staff members and volunteers. I had SO much fun helping out and took on a variety of roles throughout the day, including registration, collecting money and signs, and driving a golf cart around to make sure things were going smoothly and to thank golfers for their participation. I even got to take a shot at one of the holes, along with a few other staff members, and learned that my golfing skills are not quite up to par.
I was amazed by the generosity of the participants at this event. Throughout the day, they gave generously to RMHC, and demonstrated that they recognize and believe in the purpose behind the organization. They seemed genuinely excited to be a part of giving. Following the tournament, all of the golfers, staff, and volunteers met for a big banquet at one of the golf courses, Scioto Reserve. The event was so elegant and fun, and was a true celebration of all that had been accomplished and given for the children and families of RMHC. I can also now say that I’ve been to a party with Urban and Shelley Meyer and Chris and Lori Holtmann. (So cool btw).
A highlight of the event was listening to one of our RMHC families tell their story about what the House has meant to them, including 7 year old Ashton, who created superhero paintings to be auctioned at the event and stood up in front of hundreds of people to share why he loves the Ronald McDonald House. The audience was extremely receptive and bid generously on his paintings, and Coach Meyer even signed the paintings to drive donations even higher. It was incredible to see the community come together around Ashton and his family and RMHC as a whole to show so much love and support.
I also had the opportunity to shadow with the volunteer management staff on Thursday. I spent the morning checking and cleaning rooms with a volunteer group from Nationwide Insurance before hanging out at the desk with Kate (Volunteer Director at RMHC), who provided an overview of the administrative side, which includes keeping the master schedule, contacting additional volunteers when the House is short on staff, writing thank you notes, coordinating projects for large volunteer groups, organizing training sessions for regular volunteers, and much more. I admire the fact that Kate is able to balance all of this so well. Managing people is HARD-I learned that as an RA-and she manages a lot more people than I ever did! RMHC is blessed with thousands of volunteers every year, but it takes dedicated staff to coordinate so many people coming in and out of the House.
After meeting with Kate, I spent some time observing our first ever “Team Cuisine” meal group. Team Cuisine aims to simplify the meal preparation process for our meal groups (because cooking for 100+ people can be intimidating!) and to create more nutritious meals for our families. To participate, meal groups simply provide a donation to RMHC, and our staff members do all of the shopping and planning for the menu. The meal group then shows up to cook and serve the food, and they get unique, small group instruction time on preparing nutritious meals with a professional chef!
I was amazed by my time shadowing the volunteers at how innovative the people who work in the House are and how much time they spend trying to tailor the services provided to meet the needs of our families. For example, cleaning might seem like a simple and routine task, but RMHC’s volunteer force takes extra care to sanitize thoroughly and frequently, with some of our little guests with compromised immune systems in mind. Similarly, the diverse and nutritious meals offered by Team Cuisine are the direct result of observing children and other family members with special dietary restrictions and needs staying in the house in an attempt to serve them better.
It was truly heartwarming to see two crucial aspects of successful non-profits this week-an extremely generous community that sees the significance of the work being done here, and a group of staff and volunteers that care with all of their hearts and constantly look for ways to serve children and families better. I’m so proud to be interning at such an amazing organization and will certainly take the example they have set in terms of community connections and dedication to the purpose of their work with me wherever I end up in the future.