Good Food for a Great Cause: WellnessFX at the Ronald McDonald House of San Francisco

(L-R) Christine, Courtney, Angela, Jeremy, Madeleine, Jing

(L-R) Christine, Courtney, Angela, Jeremy, Madeleine, Jing

When it comes to the holistic approach to health and wellness, there are many pieces in play: physical, emotional, and mental. When it comes to having healthier employees, a recent Harris poll reported the strong link between volunteering and better physical, mental and emotional health:

  • 76% of respondents said that they have felt physically healthier as a result of volunteering.
  • 94% of respondents reported that volunteering has improved their mood.
  • 78% of respondents report that volunteering lowers their levels of stress.

At WellnessFX, we are big fans of two things: 1) Hanging out with each other, and 2) Trying new, healthy experiences  – from homemade kombucha to the 7-minute workout.

This week took us to the Ronald McDonald House of San Francisco, an organization that provides temporary housing, home-cooked meals and supportive services for families while their children receive specialized treatment in a San Francisco hospital.

Setting up a volunteer opportunity with the RMH is quick and easy. The house, in addition to a 24/7 volunteer staff that manages the operations, has a fully equipped kitchen. While the facilities have multiple fridges and cabinets for families to individually keep their own purchased groceries, the RMH offers Family Meals as another way to help ease the stress of having a child in the hospital. When being away from home and also spending 3+ hours a day at the hospital, meals out can be expensive, and the time and resources typically used to cook meals, are limited.

How Family Meals works

Volunteers, using the fully equipped kitchen, sign-up to cook a meal (breakfast or dinner) for the families staying in the house, by deciding on a menu and bringing the ingredients. The volunteer group shows up to cook and serve. All the families need to do is be there at 7 p.m. for when dinner is served, buffet-style.

The Menu

We never pass up a chance to show that good food can taste great, so we sourced our neighborhood friendly Instacart to deliver simple and fresh ingredients to make:

  • Green salad with dried cranberries, blue cheese crumbles, walnuts + a honey/balsamic/garlic vinaigrette
  • Herbed, baked chicken (to put on top of the salad)
  • Sauteed zucchini and yellow squash
  • Roasted sweet potatoes with red onions
  • Red Grapes (for dessert)

We spent the hour it took to cook the meal catching up and getting to know our teammates more. When we finished? A culinary masterpiece fit for 20+ people, volunteers on site, and the (charming, intelligent, good looking, etc.) chefs. We even had enough to yield leftovers that can then be packaged up for families to take to and from the hospital.

And now, photos:

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A sincere Thank You to the families and volunteer staff that let us storm the kitchen and bang some pots and pans around. We’ll be back.

We work with companies quite a bit, so stay tuned next week for “4 Tips to incorporate volunteerism into your corporate wellness program.”

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About the Ronald McDonald House of San Francisco

The Ronald McDonald House of San Francisco, Inc. (RMH-SF) provides a safe haven for critically ill children and their families.

Caring staff and volunteers have been helping families since 1989. The RMH-SF provides temporary housing, home-cooked meals and supportive services for families while their children receive specialized treatment in a San Francisco hospital. The House offers a home-like environment where family members find comfort through supportive staff, volunteers and other families in similar situations.

The Ronald McDonald House of San Francisco believes that families are stronger when they are together, and their presence helps a sick child heal faster and cope better. “While we cannot make medicine taste better or take away painful treatments, we can help lessen the burden and ensure families have the stability and resources to get and keep their child healthy and happy. Last year, 137 families found respite at our House for a combined total of 3,215 guest night stays, all because of the love and generous donations of our donors and volunteers.”

The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice of any kind. Any information in these posts should not be acted upon without consideration of primary source material and professional input from one's own healthcare professionals.