Meals from the Heart
A healthy meal is a key ingredient to helping families stay strong
At the Ronald McDonald House of Fort Worth, we feel that providing meals is a way for families to rest and recharge to help them push through their day. Meals from the Heart is a core program provided to our families, but it also creates wonderful volunteer opportunities for groups. We have many groups who prepare meals every month for our families, and we welcome this involvement.
2017 MEALS CHAMPION – Lockheed Martin provided 29 meals to RMHFW families in 2016. Fort Worth Lockheed Martin employees have been preparing meals for our families twice a month since 1997. The LM AERO Club and Lockheed Martin grant funds dedicated to the Meals from the Heart program.
HOW TO BECOME A MEALS FROM THE HEART PARTICIPANTMEAL PLANNINGKITCHEN & DONATED SUPPLIESPAPER GOODS & EATING UTENSILSRELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS GUIDELINESHEALTH & SAFETY ISSUES
- Gather a group of 5-15 members. We recommend a minimum group of 5 and maximum of 15. Any more than 15 people can make it difficult to work safely in the kitchen and could be overwhelming to our families. Please note: all members of your group must be 14 or older.
- Check out the calendar to determine which date works well for your group. Available meal times are marked as “Breakfast Available,” “Lunch Available” or “Dinner Available.”
- Reserve your meal date, by filling out the form on this page. You can select your first, second, and third meal choices. You can also be a repeat meals group! Many of our groups prepare meals quarterly or even monthly.
- Plan your menu! Our goal is to offer families balanced, healthy and flavorful meals. In planning your meal, don’t be afraid to be creative. Each meal should consist of an entree, sides, vegetable and dessert. Just like you, our families enjoy a change of pace. Please provide your menu at least one week prior to your date. Providing your menu helps to avoid meal duplication, and we do like to post the menu for families. For menu ideas, check out our Pinterest boards.
- Shop for your meal! Prior to shopping, feel free to ask what we have available here as we have a supply of donated goods that groups are welcome to use. Your group may use the mixes we have here to make iced tea, lemonade, or you can supply a different non-alcoholic beverage. (See Kitchen & Donated Supplies tab)
- Prepare the meal at the RMHFW. (See Health & Safety Issues tab)
- Serve the meal at the appropriate time for one hour.
- Clean the kitchen after the meal. Cleaning the pans, cooking utensils and dishes used in preparing and serving the meal is considered to be part of the activity. After approximately one hour serving time, you may begin cleanup of the serving area. The cooking group is responsible for packing and labeling (date and contents) of leftovers with the provided containers and labels. Groups need to make sure to put items back exactly where they were found. The kitchen should be left in the same condition as when the group arrived – clean and organized.
- In the unfortunate event that your group will be unable to meet your commitment, we would appreciate as much advanced notice as possible so that we can make alternate arrangements to feed our guest families. Please call our main office at 817.870.4942.
- Please dress in appropriate attire: casual work setting, clothing that is comfortable and practical (no shorts, tank tops, flip flops, etc.).
Plan your BREAKFAST or LUNCH menu for 50-70 people.
Plan your DINNER menu for 80-100 people.
Please understand that these numbers are estimates. The actual number of people attending the meal varies greatly even when the house is full. Not all families will be able to make it to the house at the scheduled serving times, but they will be searching for leftovers whenever they return to the House. Some families will prepare to-go plates for children and themselves. Rest assured that whether the food is eaten in the kitchen at the time of the meal, carried away to the hospital, or warmed up as leftovers later, it will be eaten and is very much appreciated.
BREAKFAST is served at 8:30am. Arrive at no earlier than 7:30am to prepare meal
LUNCH is served at Noon. Arrive around 10am to prepare meal
DINNER is served at 6:00pm. Arrive around 4:00pm to prepare meal
The time actually needed to arrive will depend upon your menu. Some meals require more prep time while others require less time. The arrival time suggested is the earliest we recommend that you arrive, but we ask that you be fully prepared to serve the meal at the set time to allow families to plan accordingly.
We have 2 fully stocked kitchens with pots, pans, cooking utensils, serving bowls, plates, silverware, paper goods, beverage dispensers and cups. Our kitchens include: 2 gas cook tops, 4 commercial ovens, 4 microwaves, gas grills, ice dispenser and soda machine. We have a generous supply of donated goods (canned goods, condiments, salad dressing, pasta, soup, etc.) that groups are welcome to use. Please note: Knives are locked in our pantry and you must request them in the front office.
The House is very fortunate to have many donations of paper plates, bowls, napkins and eating utensils. It is not required to bring paper goods or eating utensils; however, if you prefer to bring them with your meal group, you are welcome to do so. Your donation will help us keep our stock replenished.
We are a “home-away-from-home” for families with seriously ill children, and we must be considerate of their needs during this stressful time in their lives. The Ronald McDonald House is not a faith-based organization. We are an agency that welcomes people of all faiths and people of no faith. Volunteers from many congregations and faiths provide meals for our families, and their ministry is demonstrated through kindness, helpfulness, and gift of time and resources. When a family has spent the day at the hospital with their sick child, met with social workers, chaplains, and doctors, they are seeking a safe place to rest and have a meal. While speaking with a family, showing concern for them and compassion for their pain is appreciated; engaging in prayer services is not appropriate in this setting. Telling a family that you will remember them in your prayers is a welcome thing, but to facilitate a prayer service in this environment is intrusive of their privacy. We ask that your group not solicit prayer requests from the families, engage in “healing efforts,” nor conduct private sessions of prayer with the families at the House. Families do not want to disappoint the groups nor decline the offer of prayer when solicited by visitors to the House; therefore, we depend upon you to respect their privacy. We hope your group will want to participate with our agency within these guidelines. Please give this prayerful consideration to assure that our mission and your mission here are compatible.
- All food served to our families must be prepared in our kitchen or purchased at a store/restaurant. Baked goods/desserts may be prepared off-site, but refrigerated desserts must also be prepared at the Ronald McDonald House.
- Hand washing is important & required!
- All volunteers must wear gloves while preparing, cooking and serving food. We provide gloves for all volunteers to use.
- If you have hair that goes past your shoulders, please be sure to tie it back.
- All food must be served at the proper temperature. Food warmers keep the food at the right temperature and are located in the cabinets below the buffet.
- We want our cooking groups to feel “at home” in our wonderful kitchen, but must ask that our cooks refrain from sampling the foods or licking fingers while preparing food.
- Volunteers with communicable diseases (common cold, recent exposure to chicken pox, flu-like symptoms, etc.) may not be part of the cooking group due to the compromised immune systems of so many of our children.
RESERVE YOUR MEAL DATE
Please read all instructions completely and then complete the following form to request a meals date. We will evaluate the dates you requested and respond during normal office hours, Monday through Friday, to confirm or discuss your dates. If you are requesting your date after 5pm on Friday, please know you will not be contacted until Monday. Contact us at email@example.com with any questions.