Northwestern College Volunteers at Ronald McDonald House!
[Bridgeview/Chicago-Jefferson Park/Rosemont, IL] Northwestern College continually strives to give back to the community, and this month it set its sights on the Ronald McDonald House in the Chicago-Hyde Park neighborhood! On July 13th, a group of staff members from the College’s Chicago-Jefferson Park Campus volunteered their time to make a home-cooked meal for family members whose children were admitted to area hospitals. Using funds donated by staff and faculty at Northwestern College’s three campuses (Bridgeview, Chicago-Jefferson Park, and Naperville) as well as from its Rosemont administrative offices, the group purchased enough food to serve a minimum of 30 people at the Ronald McDonald House, and then cooked up a feast for the families staying that evening at the House.
Ronald McDonald House Charities provides a 'home away from home' to keep families of hospitalized children together during their greatest time of need. A few months back, Northwestern College hosted a “jeans day”, where with a donation of $5, staff and faculty could wear jeans to work. All of the proceeds that day were designated for the Ronald McDonald House and were used to purchase food. On July 13th, the Northwestern College staff used those funds when they volunteered to make a good home-cooked meal for the families staying at the Ronald McDonald House that night! Eight staff and volunteers arrived at 3pm that day and began making dinner. Some worked on the summer salad, using the recipe of Sylvia Gonzalez, Northwestern College’s Assistant Director of Financial Assistance; others started making baked macaroni and cheese or real mashed potatoes. Corn bread, fresh green beans (a recipe of Melissa Mosqueda, Northwestern College’s Senior Student Account Representative), banana pudding and two cakes were also made, along with chicken made three different ways – baked, barbequed, and with lemon pepper.
A buffet dinner was served at 6pm, and the staff and volunteers from Northwestern College joined the families and enjoyed a tasty dinner and some good conversation, helping the families to get their mind off the reason they were there – a sick child. When dinner was over, the group cleaned up, did the dishes, and packed the leftovers away in the kitchen for those families that would be arriving later that night from the hospital.
Northwestern College began volunteering for Ronald McDonald House when then student Sergio Ortiz suggested that some of the clubs volunteer there. For the past few years, Sergio has organized a group of students or students and staff to donate their time. He’s graduated now and is working at Northwestern College’s Chicago Campus, so this year’s volunteers were staff, with the July 13th dinner being Sergio’s sixth time coordinating a meal at the Ronald McDonald House.
When asked why he did it, Sergio responded, “These families have a lot on their plate, and for some, it’s been awhile since they’ve had a real home-cooked meal. If we can do that for them, put a smile on their faces, then it’s worth it!” But he also noted that cooking the meals was a lot of fun, giving him an opportunity to mix with friends, students and co-workers in a different sort of way – while cooking for 25 people! He also truly enjoyed just sharing a meal with those going through a trying experience, helping them to get their minds off something scary – a sick child.
So with Sergio picking the recipes and buying the food, his co-workers joined him and he delegated the responsibilities, which resulted in a feast! It was a win-win for everyone involved!
About Northwestern College:
Northwestern College (NC) is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, www.ncahlc.org. The college offers focused career-oriented associate degree and certificate programs with flexible schedules and a supportive faculty. Day, evening, weekend, online classes and online programs are available with campuses in Chicago, Bridgeview, and Naperville. More information can be found at www.northwesterncollege.edu or by calling toll-free (888) 205-2283.