Community Voices is a monthly feature giving volunteers and supporters a chance to reflect and share about their experiences at RMHC. This month, volunteer Mary Vander Yacht writes about her involvement.
Every Wednesday I leave work at three, and make my way to the East House. There I set up my supplies and begin to bake cookies. Maybe some snicker doodles, or chocolate chip, or my personal favorite – M&M’s. Whatever I bake, it always fills the House with comforting scents, like cinnamon and vanilla. And I love it when someone wanders into the kitchen and discovers that the cookies are warm from the oven. The smile on their face makes my day.
Along with the cookies, I have the opportunity to touch base with so many people. Families gather in the kitchen, and I believe that having someone to talk to while you’re making dinner, grabbing a quick cup of coffee, or getting a snack, can be a welcome change in someone’s daily routine at the hospital. Volunteering at the House has helped me enhance my listening skills (my friends hopefully can attest to that!) and I like to think that having a shoulder to lean on is almost as good as one of those warm cookies.
One day I noticed a large group gathered around two tables in the dining area. Some family members had come from out of town to visit and check on how everyone was doing. After a while, they got up to leave for the hospital, and one of the women came over to me. She looked around the kitchen and said, “You know, I’ve cried and cried these last couple of months when I’ve thought about what my daughter and her family are going through. But now I don’t have to cry when I think about where they’re staying, or if they have people around them that care and will be there to support them.”
That’s what the Ronald McDonald House is all about to me. Making sure all of the family, not just those staying at the House, are supported. It’s all about love.
Mary Vander Yacht