[Chicago-Jefferson Park, IL] Northwestern College continually strives to give back to the community, and this month it once again set its sights on the Ronald McDonald House in the Chicago-Hyde Park neighborhood. On July 12, staff members from the College’s Jefferson Park Campus volunteered their time to make a home-cooked meal for family members whose children have been admitted to area hospitals. Using funds from Northwestern College’s Chicago Campus Student Senate Club, the group purchased enough food to serve a minimum of thirty people at the Ronald McDonald House, and then cooked up dinner for the families staying that evening at the House.
Ronald McDonald House Charities provides a 'home away from home' to keep families of hospitalized children together during their greatest time of need. Twelve Northwestern College staff and volunteers arrived that day and began preparing the meal; some worked on the salad, while others prepared staff member Sylvia Gonzalez’s Lemon Pepper Chicken and Puerto Rican rice, a recipe of staff member Sergio Ortiz’s mother, Miriam.
The buffet was served with staff and volunteers joining the families to enjoy a tasty dinner and some good conversation, helping the families get their mind off the reason they were there – a sick child. When dinner was over, the Northwestern College group cleaned up, did the dishes and packed the leftovers away in the kitchen for those families that would be arriving later that night from the hospital.
Northwestern College began volunteering for Ronald McDonald House when then student Sergio Ortiz suggested that some of the clubs volunteer there. Sergio graduated and is now employed at the College’s Chicago Campus, with this year’s dinner marking his seventh time coordinating this volunteer event.
When asked why he did it, Sergio responded, “These families have a lot on their plate, and for some, it’s been awhile since they’ve had a real home-cooked meal. If we can do that for them, put a smile on their faces, then it’s worth it!” But he also noted that cooking the meals was a lot of fun, giving him an opportunity to mix with friends, students and co-workers in a different sort of way – while cooking for 30 people! He also truly enjoyed just sharing a meal with those going through a trying experience, helping them to get their minds off something scary – a sick child.
So with Sergio picking the recipes and buying the food, his Northwestern College co-workers joined him, and he delegated the responsibilities, which resulted in a feast! It was a win-win for everyone involved!
About Northwestern College: Northwestern College (NC) is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, www.ncahlc.org. The college offers focused career-oriented associate degree and certificate programs with flexible schedules and a supportive faculty. Day, evening, weekend, online classes and online programs are available, with campuses in Chicago and Bridgeview as well as Online. More information can be found at www.northwesterncollege.edu or by calling toll-free (888) 205-2283.