Meal Teams

Providing a meal is a wonderful way to provide a tangible sign of comfort and care for families while they care for their seriously ill child.

Cooking can be especially rewarding as families often find themselves living on hospital food or from vending machines much of the time. Groups can prepare dinner or weekend brunches for the families at the House.

Please note that we now have two meal groups for each meal as we have two kitchens. Your group has the option of cooking in either or both kitchens. Check both calendars for available dates. Contact Marcia Kessinger, Volunteer Coordinator, for more information.

What, When, and How Many…

Meal # of Cooks Arrival Time Serving Time Departure # to Feed
(Main Kitchen)
# to Feed
(Hearth Kitchen)
Brunch Up to 10 9:00 am 10:15 am By 12:00 35 15
Dinner Up to 10 As necessary 6:00 pm By 7:30 40 20

Between May 1st and Labor Day we will have one meal group. Groups will prepare food for 60 people for dinner and 40 people for brunch. We are asking that all these meals be served in the Hearth Building.

What You Need To Know

  • Purchase food for 35-40 people in the Main Kitchen and 15-20 people in the Hearth Kitchen.
  • Serving time for the dinner meal is 6:00 pm; brunch is 10:15 am.
  • Team members should be familiar with the contents of the Meal Program Handbook.
  • Group leader will complete our Meal Safety Kitchen Training. Meal team leaders are expected to attend a brief orientation prior to first meal prep.
  • Ideal meal group size is 6-10 people. Limit group to no more than 10 peoplethis is important because extra people cause too much commotion for the families who are here. We try to make mealtime as stress-free as possible for the families. If there are too many people here, it actually proves more stressful for them than helpful.
  • No team member should participate if they have any illness or symptom of illness, no matter how minor.
  • Children 13 years and older may participate but should be supervised by an adult.
  • We welcome you to dine with our families, but please plan amounts of food accordingly.
  • You may photograph your group, but please do not include our guests in the photos.
  • Although you many not see many of our guests while you are here (most spend as much time as possible at the hospital with their child), please know that leftover food IS consumed.
  • Clean up and packing up of leftovers is a required part of meal preparation.
  • Cancellation Policy: in order to meet the needs of our families, we require at least 48 hours notice for cancellation. Our families are counting on you, so if you have to cancel we ask that you make arrangements to provide a meal by bringing pre-prepared food or making other arrangements.
All meal group members are required to sign in. The first member to arrive or the team captain will pick up a sign in sheet and in-kind donation form at the front desk. Meal team members can park in the main parking lot.
It is of utmost importance to bring enough people to help you set up, serve, and clean any dishes or pots that you use to prepare the meal. Cleaning up and putting away leftovers is part of meal service. We have dishes, glasses and silverware for service but do not expect you to wash them – our guests will do that.
We will be more than happy to help your group come up with some menu ideas. For the most part, dinnertime is the only chance our families get to sit down and truly relax – your providing a complete, hot meal means a lot to them! We welcome you to be creative; our only request is that it be a complete meal. An example of a complete meal would be: roasted chicken, rice pilaf, a sliced tomato salad and green beans. For planning purposes, please let us know the week before coming what your group has chosen to cook.
We have two stoves/ovens, two dishwashers, two sinks, plenty of counter space, and an ample selection of pots, pans, and cooking utensils. Food is served buffet-style, so you can set out plates, glasses, and flatware on the buffet in the dining room. When the meal is ready, ask a staff member to broadcast an announcement throughout the building.
Our families come from a variety of backgrounds. The one thing that all of our families have in common is that they have a child being treated at the hospital. Many of our families are under a lot of stress and appreciate coming back to the House after an exhausting day at the hospital to a relaxed, home-cooked meal. While many of our families may not make it back in time for the meal, we save leftovers in our House refrigerator for families to enjoy later when they return to the House.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes. You will plan, shop for and prepare the food for the meal you are serving.
Considering the kitchen space, a team of 6-8 is ideal but teams are allowed up to 10 people. Children 13 and older may participate, but must be supervised by an adult. Children count toward the 10 person maximum.
We have two kitchens that can accommodate up to 20 people between them. Check our Meal Group Calendar and find a date when both kitchens are available and sign up for both.
We now have two kitchens, one in our Main House and one in the Hearth Building. In the Main Kitchen dinner should feed approximately 40 people and brunch 35. In the Hearth Kitchen the dinner meal should feed about 20 and brunch 15. In either case you can contact the Meal Service Manager a few days in advance to verify the occupancy rate.
Each kitchen has two stoves/ovens, two dishwashers, two sinks, plenty of counter space, and an ample selection of pots, pans and cooking utensils. Some meal groups find it helpful to bring disposable pans, but it is not necessary. Food is served buffet style and we have plates, glasses and silverware, although you may bring disposable items if you wish.
There is no need to do so, but we do ask that you know the ingredients in the food you prepare.
You are welcome to dine with our families. If you do, please adjust the food supply accordingly and be mindful not to crowd our families. Some families enjoy interacting with volunteers while others enjoy eating quietly on their own.
You are not required to bring beverages or desserts, but many groups choose to do so. Drinks such as iced tea, lemonade and sodas are much appreciated by guests and desserts are always a treat!
All food should be safely sealed in plastic containers or Ziploc bags (provided by the House), labeled and stored for families to eat later. Many families do not make it to the House for meals and make use of the stored food at a later time.

For more information about Meal Teams, please contact Marcia Kessinger, Volunteer Coordinator.

Meal Teams Application

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Meal Teams Calendars

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