Stories behind the meals: Ronald McDonald House

30 November 2015


25 November 2015
Posted by Zoe Ellsmore, Marketing and Communications Officer
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IMG_9068Mum Sarah with daughter Lily. Lily’s sibling is in nearby Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

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 their side. FareShare West Midlands is helping to ease pressure on some of those parents by delivering food to Ronald McDonald House, a place providing support and accommodation to families with children in nearby Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

I went along to a pirate party (not something I get to do every day at work!) for families at the House to see how food that would otherwise have gone to waste is being put to good use.

“By us providing FareShare food for parents it makes life that bit easier,”  Deputy House Manager Joy Dangerfield explained to me between leading a treasure hunt and a round of sea shanties. 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, Joy explained. Fresh ingredients such as vegetables, fish and meat enable others to cook in the shared kitchens and eat together as families.

The food FareShare provides is particularly invaluable to families with less funds. “It has a massive impact on some families, it’s a lifeline,” Joy told me, explaining that being away from work and finding the resources to live away from home can be a financial strain.

Joy Dangerfield dressed as Captain Sparrow at Ronald McDonald HouseJoy – Deputy Manager of Ronald McDonald House and sometime Jack Sparrow.

Fahmi and his family 

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”.

Children playing at Ronald McDonald pirate party

Fahmi looks on as his daughter Miriam (right) gets ready to play pass the parcel at the pirate party.


Food that makes memories at parties

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 says. FareShare provided the food for a little girl’s 2nd birthday party, which was her last. You (FareShare) took part in providing happy memories.”

Visiting Ronald McDonald House showed me the unexpected ways that surplus food can make a difference.  A reminder that when there is food that can’t be sold, it should go to feeding people first. All this food, which would have gone to waste, is instead making life a little bit easier at a difficult time. It helps families stay together and keeps parents close to their children.
Read more stories behind the meals to find out about the charities and people we support