Family Dinner Program

Many of the parents and other family members at the Ronald McDonald House don’t have the time to prepare adequate meals because it’s extra time they will be away from their sick child or infant. Our “Family Dinner Program” allows families to relax and enjoy an evening meal at the Ronald McDonald Houses every night of the week at 6:30pm, thanks to the generosity of many groups, businesses and individuals. These meals can be prepared at the House or brought in ready to eat. They can have a casual feel or the format of a sit-down dinner. It’s all up to the person or group involved in planning and preparing the meal.

Would you be interested in adopting a Family Dinner Night at the Ronald McDonald House? It’s easy!

You or your group will provide the groceries and the food can be prepared at the Ronald McDonald House or outside the House and brought in. You can eat with the families and offer not only a home-cooked meal, but also the fellowship of kind words and support to these guardians. You can schedule to serve a one-time meal, or you can set up a recurring schedule to serve once a week, month or quarter. If you or a group would like to serve but aren’t available for a 6:30pm dinner, we invite you to prepare breakfast or lunch for our families. Please give us a week’s notice when scheduling so we can notify our families and let them know that a special lunch or dinner will be available.

Thank you for taking time to contribute to our Family Dinner Program. We appreciate all that you do for the families and children.

Food Prep Guidelines

  1. Before any food preparation begins, each group member is required to wash his or her hands and forearms for at least 20 seconds with warm soapy water. Wash your hands frequently, especially between handling raw food and ready-to-eat food to prevent cross-contamination.
  2. Gloves must be worn at all times when handling ready-to-eat food. This includes, but is not limited to bread, chips, cookies, vegetables, etc. Gloves are provided in the kitchen. If you are preparing the meal at home, you may stop by the Ronald McDonald House prior to your scheduled date to pick up gloves.
  3. Aprons are provided for your use while at the House. We encourage you to wear these at all times when preparing and serving the meal.
  4. Ball caps and hair nets are also provided at the House. If you have longer hair, we ask that you pull it back in a pony tail before you begin the meal preparations.
  5. When cooking meats, please ensure the proper temperature is reached for food safety. We have two meat thermometers available in the kitchen. Most meats need to reach at least 160o F before consumption.
  6. Items that are packaged in abundance, such as potato chips, should be placed in bowls and served with a gloved hand or tongs should be available with the item for proper disbursement.
  7. Any cloths that are used should be used for one purpose and then immediately put in the dirty cloths receptacle for washing. Food spills should be cleaned up immediately and the cloth should be rinsed in the sink before being put in the receptacle.
  8. All leftovers need to be properly stored in appropriate containers. Please use containers with lids or zip lock bags to store food in the refrigerator or freezer. Any item that can be individually wrapped will need to be wrapped as soon as the meal is over. We have foil and clear wrap in the cabinets for this purpose.
  9. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly before using the ice machine and scoop. Place the scoop back in the appropriate holder when finished.
  10. All dinnerware needs to be placed in the dishwashers so they can be properly cleaned and sanitized.

Dinner Guidelines

  1. Please limit the size of your group to no more than 8 -10 people. This will ensure a favorable experience for your organization as well as the Ronald McDonald House families. If there are several people from your business or church that are interested, break them up into small groups.
  2. All children/teens must be accompanied by adult sponsors – at least one adult per five children.
  3. Please remind your participants that they should not come if they have a fever, are not feeling well or think they may have been exposed to a communicable disease. (example: chicken pox) Any exposure could be very harmful to immunosuppressed children. In addition, any ill member of your group should not prepare any portion of the meal to be brought to the House.
  4. Food can be prepared outside the Ronald McDonald House and brought in or you can prepare the entire meal at the Ronald McDonald House. Food may also be purchased already cooked and other items added to it to make a meal, such as fried chicken, pizza, etc. Please no spaghetti dinners – this is something that can be fixed quickly by the families and is eaten very often. We have plenty of items in our pantry if you would like to use them for your meal.
  5. When scheduling a dinner, it is best to plan to begin serving sometime between 6:15 PM and 6:30 PM. Some groups prefer to set the tables and serve the families while others set the food out buffet-style and allow them to walk through.
  6. Please realize that hospital schedules and patient treatment times vary. We never know an exact number of people that will be eating and can only give you an estimate (approximately 15 to 25 people). It is helpful to call and confirm this estimate count a few days ahead.
  7. Our kitchen is well stocked with dishes, glasses, pots & pans, and utensils. We also have a gas grill on our back deck at the House near Cox South if grilling is something your group may enjoy.
  8. You are also responsible for clean up. If you would like to prepare a meal, but do not have the manpower to help serve and clean up, please let us know and we may be able to coordinate efforts with one of our Family Care Managers.

If you would like to schedule a dinner or if you have any questions, please contact: