It looks like we are again going to be hosting Easter dinner for the families at the Ronald McDonald House. last year was our first year doing so and we had a great time.
It was the kid and I, along with about 13 volunteers from the community, a combination of people from Hands on Greater Portland and from Meet in Portland. We all brought food, a turkey had been donated, and we cooked the majority of the food there and then ate it together and toured the facility.
The Ronald McDonald House provides emotional and physical support to all who live within its walls, creating an oasis of normalcy when families find themselves in an extraordinary circumstance. The house we are helping recently expanded to 24 rooms, including one suite. The rooms are AMAZING!
They all have themes, such as the outdoor getaway theme-when you walked in, it really felt as if you might be at a lake house cabin. There was a sports themed room. A nursery rhyme room, with beautiful paintings of common nursery rhymes, etc. It's just an awesome place for the families to stay.
Most often the children being treated at Emanuel are inpatient their entire stay - they have a lot of preemies, trauma patients, and heart patients. The house is for families of these children, along with the occasional sibling. With the nature of their diagnoses, families have a hard time planning activities - they never know when it's going to be a good day or an all day at the hospital day. Our dinner was planned to feed the nine families staying at the house, including two siblings of children. We actually only saw one family, and it was just before we left for the day, but we left a GREAT meal for the families to have when they returned from the hospital.
The kid and I and another teen and her mom painted eggs and left those for the children. Painting eggs is fun for us crafty type - we gave each other pointers and advice on how to make the best designs. It was a good day-a long one, but a good one. We left with full bellies and full hearts (awww).
I always give a little speech before the volunteer event begins, telling my volunteer group about Hands on Greater Portland and who/what we are, and then a little spiel about me and why I volunteer and how to become a project leader and then I tell about the project and why what we are doing is important and end with a big THANK YOU to all the volunteers for giving up their time to help others and how they really are making a difference in someone else's life and how, even though they might not see direct results by the project, the work they are doing is appreciated. It's about a five-ten minute spiel depending on the project and depending on whether I remember everything. Sometimes the Love Letters intro is about four minutes, one time it was 15 (I have NO idea what I talked about for that long!). It sometimes feels as if I'm talking FOREVER - but those who know me know that I spew out about 1423 words a minute, so if I spoke at a normal clip, it would probably take much longer. Maybe the 15 minute speech was on a day when I spoke quite slowly, aka like "normal" humans.
Anyway, I'm excited to have something fun and fulfilling to do on Easter, a holiday we don't actually celebrate.
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