Supporting families at Ronald McDonald House

4 April 2017

Going food shopping is the last thing on your mind when your child is in hospital. Such an everyday task can become a burden as it takes you away from your child’s side.

That’s why we deliver good food saved from waste to Ronald McDonald House each week. Ronald McDonald House provides support and accommodation to families with children in nearby Birmingham Children’s Hospital. Since partnering with FareShare West Midlands they can now provide food too, meaning that parents don’t have to leave their child’s side.

As well as food for dinner, FareShare also provides surplus food for parties designed to raise families’ spirits. We went along to one of these parties – pirate themed no less! – to see how food that would have gone to waste is instead supporting families in times of crisis. We caught up with Deputy House Manager Joy Dangerfield, dad Fahmi and mum Danielle (pictured above) about the difference the food makes to them.

Making life a little easier for families

When we visit Joy is dressed in full Captain Sparrow regalia, entertaining children at the pirate party with treasure hunts and games. She took a break to tell us “By us providing FareShare food to parents, it makes life that bit easier. Ready meals, sandwiches, and fruit pots are a godsend to families getting back late from the ward, who are hungry but have no time to cook. Fresh ingredients such as vegetables, fish and meat enable other parents to cook in the shared kitchens and eat together as families. It has a massive impact on some families with less funds, it’s a lifeline. Being away from work and finding the resources to live away from home can be a financial strain for some families.”

Days like the pirate party are a getaway from the ward for parents and their children. Pastries, juice and sweet treats that would have gone to waste instead become pass-the-parcel prizes and party spreads. “Food can make memories,” Joy told us. “FareShare provided the food for a little girl’s 2nd birthday party, which was her last. You (FareShare) took part in providing happy memories.”

Picture of Joy dressed as a pirate leading children's games. Joy's role is supporting families with children in hospital.

Joy – Deputy Manager of Ronald McDonald House and sometime Jack Sparrow.

Dad Fahmi at the pirate party as his daughter Miriam plays a game with another child.  Fahmi and his family receive support from Ronald McDonald House.

Dad Fahmi at the pirate party as his daughter Miriam (right) gets ready for pass the parcel.

Dad Fahmi says

Dad Fahmi and his wife and daughter have been staying at Ronald McDonald House while his son receives treatment. Speaking to Fahmi made me realise just how important it is to parents to be close to the hospital at all times and not to have to travel to the shops. “Ronald McDonald House helps us to be near to our child and food from FareShare is a part of that” he told me. “Being near is so important, more than you can imagine, even walking the 100 metres to the hospital can feel far. Events like the pirate party are a getaway from the hospital and it’s really good for our other kids. It’s a getaway for parents too!”

Mum Danielle says

The Christian family (pictured in top image) from Coventry have been at Ronald McDonald House for five weeks while their son Cohen, who was born with bowel problems, undergoes a series of operations. Mum Danielle said “The food really helps as when we get back from the hospital we haven’t always got time to go to shops. I was amazed at the quality, it’s all fresh! The salmon was great, big juicy bits! The parties are great too, I bring my other son Cairo and it brings his spirits up. He’s been here for the whole summer. Cairo’s been talking about the party all week.”