26 May Sydney’s Lakers Cook up an Indian Feast at Ronald McDonald House
Childhood illness can have a devastating effect on families. As well as all the fear and uncertainty, there are the practicalities of managing the family when a child is away in hospital, often for extended periods of time.
On Wednesday 9th April this year, seven Lakers from our Sydney office left work early, donned aprons and got to work in Sydney’s Ronald McDonald House kitchen in Randwick to cook up a storm for the 80+ residents that evening. Ronald McDonald’s House Charities have been making life easier for seriously ill children and their families in Australia since 1981.
Sophie Cohen, our delightful French hen, contributed a tried and tested family chicken curry recipe and cooked up a tornado, whirring across all four stove tops simultaneously, pots, pans, wooden spoons and baby bump blurring together as she went. Robbo and Chop (alias Simon Robinson and Jamie Finnegan) had conducted a commando-style sweep of the local Woolworths earlier in the day to provide supplies for the project and swung into action chopping (Jamie of course) and stirring (Robbo always) for their lives. Lucas Partington launched himself into preparing entrees and added sparkle and aplomb to all he touched, relishing each and every “ding” of the microwave. Kevin Griffiths applied himself with gusto to the fruit salad, offering deep throated Northern British quips to the melee as he navigated pineapple chunks and grapes with an unwieldy meat cleaver. Johanna Peirce, our newbie, got stuck into the role of ‘all things to all people’, slicing, dicing, stirring, rinsing and generally getting a finger into every metaphorical pie in the room. I stuck to my role of chief fruitier and timekeeper, in readiness for my piece de resistance as chief washer-upper later on.
What transpired was a fantastical three course Indian inspired meal of gargantuan proportions that appeared to go down a treat with the families, many coming back for seconds. The House residents came down to eat in fits and starts throughout the evening. We spread ourselves out and sat to eat with them and provide some light relief and a change in conversation for these strung out families who spend most if not all of their days and nights talking, thinking, living and breathing their loved ones illnesses and medical procedures. Some of the stories we heard were heart and gut wrenching, but just to put a smile on the face of the shy little boy I sat next to and have him giggle with me as I let some chutney dribble down my chin and pretend not to notice, taking his and his young Mum’s mind off his strife for a little while, made it worthwhile for me.
We were all touched deeply by the people we met, the strength they have to find to keep going for their children, was humbling beyond words. We left exhausted but grateful for the opportunity to help. And I know I wasn’t the only one who got home and looked in on my healthy, sleeping family that night with a renewed sense of gratitude.
What Ronald McDonald House provides is a safe, warm and utterly homely place for these families to stay, some for days, some months, where they can live as normally as possibly while their kids receive treatment. It’s an amazing provision and done with love and commitment from all involved. We loved stepping in for a night to help out and will definitely be back to do it again.
If your company would like to participate in the evening meal programme, get in touch with Ronald McDonald House via http://www.rmhc.org.au/ I highly recommend it!