March's 'Home for Dinner' by Local4Local4Local brought Bushmen Enterprises (bushmen.ca), Key Lime Athletic Wear (keylimecanada.com) and Memories Through Story (memoriesthroughstory.com) into the Ronald McDonald House together. We decided upon a taco bar fiesta theme for dinner, and once again the amazing Elaine Wilson (alliumfoodworks.com) was a godsend of knowledge and sourcing for finding our needed ingredients locally, and how best to prepare pulled beef and pulled chicken for the tacos. The 'crueset' style dutch ovens at the house were put to great use to braise the chicken and the beef early in the afternoon. When we arrived at the house at 4pm to begin preparing our taco fiesta, the house was already alive with the wafting aromas of a Mexican cantina! One of the coolest parts of this dinner was the 'mini chefs' that joined us in the kitchen! The children of Bushmen and Memories Through Story joined in on the fun, and were fantastic little helpers in the kitchen! It was a fantastic way to teach the calue of volunteering AND have fun at the same time! And being in the house with the children and families who are fighting for wellness was a great gratitude reminder for all...
Our first greeting upon arrival was from a Grandma who was happily packing for a trip home. Her grandchild who is in care at Stollery was able to go home for a few days, and Grandma was getting everything in order for the family. She expressed her delight that Local4Local4Local was in the house to cook dinner that evening, saying that the meals that our organization and the other communities and families that participate in the 'Home for Dinner' program provide are a blessing to the families in residence at the house. She shared what a relief it is at the end of days that are so weary after caring for the needs of both the child in care as well as their siblings all day to arrive back at the house from the hospital and be able to sit down to a hot home cooked meal and not have to think about making dinner. One more reinforcement that our service in the house is needed and appreciated.
Our menu for the evening was a Taco Bar with ALL the fixins: Pulled Beef & Pulled Chicken, braised 'low and slow' in a mix of chili base, created by Cooks Corner, and stock. Homemade Pico De Gallo Salsa. Homemade Guacamole. Cheese. Sour Cream. Diced tomatoes, peppers, jalapenos, lettuce, cabbage. Hard and soft shells. Hand cut tortilla chips and some decadent Peach and Mango Salsa, both created by Cooks Corner (cooks-corner.ca). YUMMM!!!
OH... and NO PRESSURE. But the Board of Directors for the house was meeting at the house this evening. So we fed them, too! An honor to shake hands with the group of individuals who so lovingly care for some of the needs of the house.
And then when dinner was done, there began a fun game of BINGO! Our junior chefs were ALL to happy to forego dish duty for a bingo dauber and the prospect of winning one of the fun prizes.
And the evening closed with a tour of the brand new suites... Beautiful. And how exciting that the house can now accomodate 32 families!!
Once again, our evening, hearts, and lives were warmed by being of service in the best 'house' in Edmonton. Our hearts and tummies left full. Thank you, RMHNA.
What a GREAT day! The Local4Local4Local Team was invited to participate in the Welcome Home Community Event at RMHNA... And PARTICIPATE we DID!!
It was an opportunity for Edmonton and area individuals and families to come to the house and join the families of the house for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and to see why the house is such a refuge for families in need.
The day began BRIGHT and EARLY with Brent and Jason from Sandyview Farms in Spruce Grove along with Frank from Jitterbee Shakeable Pancake Mix and myself, Kristi from Memories Through Story, cooking up a hearty breakfast in the kitchen of the house. In very short order (these guys are VERY well practiced at whipping up a yummy breakfast), we had a lovely breakfast of eggs, bacon, and pancakes all whipped up. The bacon from Sandyview Farms is the BEST and was a fan favourite. The scrambled eggs were light and fluffy. And those Jitterbee cakes? Beautiful vanilla taste, light texture, YUM!
Lunch was provided some time later by McDonald's, and many local media, sponsors, and board members came and enjoyed a lovely lunch and tour of the house.
Fine Frostings' lovely Jo Ann Yewchuk arrived with her helpers to set up a SUPER HERO themed dessert table. It was an AMAZING and tasty tribute to the house's little heroes. From its table skirting which later detached to make about six cute little felt superhero capes (uber-cute!!) to the incredible cake that she brought all frosted and READY TO BE DECORATED with edible markers to KABOOM Gum, Rice Krispie STAR STICKS and Marshmallow POWER POPS and MORE it was a beautiful and colorful display of yumminess that had many mouths watering and was lovingly coveted by all of the children of the house until they received the green light to DIG IN after dinner!
Next was dinner... it was great for Karrie of Daly Stock and myself to join together with the lovely folks from Cargill to provide a BBQ Burger Supper. Many giggles were shared as dinner was prepared and one of the gentlemen from Cargill sported a chef's apron lovingly created by his children... Great comeraderie was enjoyed by all. One of the grandmas of one of the house's little heroes even joined us for a couple of hours in the kitchen. It was a pleasure to get to know her a wee bit, and to hear the story of her little grandaughter, Paige, who is fighting cancer. This family was a real blessing to the house's Welcome Home Day... the siblings lovingly decorated the cake from Fine Frostings, the littlest sibling melted my heart with his 'hide and seek' play and his superhero antics after dinner, complete with superhero cape. And it was great seeing sweet little Paige playing on the outside playground and hanging from the monkey bars after supper.
The whole day culminated in an easy, beautifully sunny evening where folks could sit and just breathe, and where the kids could play together and just be 'kids'. It seemed that the worries of the families and their little heroes that are such huge burdens lifted in the warmth and soft light of the afternoon sunlight.
KUDOS to all of our team who showed up with hearts and hands at the ready to make the house's community day a success. My heart continues to be SO FULL of gratitude at these amazing local businesses who chose to join my wee dream of making a difference through good food and great meals.
Kudos also to 'my' Ronald McDonald House of Northern Alberta who continues to inspire each of us to be more, do more, and give more. Your warmth to our Local4Local4Local community has been a blessing.
And to the incredible families and community of tiny heroes that call the house 'home', thank you for allowing us to see and hear your stories. Thank you for allowing us to be a vessel of comfort. And thank you most of all for allowing us to be of service.
I am so sorry for the inattention. It has been too long. Let's remedy that, shall we?