Point Borough Schools and local businesses worked together to provide a feast for families of ill children at the Ronald McDonald House in Philadelphia.
Students, families and staff at and along with school district administrators and numerous businesses in Point Borough, Point Beach and Bay Head joined forces to provide a sumptuous dinner, including desserts, to about 90 people on April 30.
The collaborative effort filled a few large vans with food that local school district and business owners drove to the Ronald McDonald House, where they served dinner to families going through difficult ordeals.
Point Borough Schools Business Administrator Steven Corso said the response from schools and businesses "was just overwhelming. it's just amazing how charitable our families at the schools and our businesses are.
"This was a great way for the greater Point-Bay Head community to give back," he said, in the parking lot at in Point Beach, just before, he, other administrators and Joe Introna, owner of Joe Leone's, left for the Ronald McDonald House.
Nellie F. Bennett and Ocean Road elementary schools in Point Borough donated 40 boxes of food, toiletries and household goods, based on a wish list from Ronald McDonald House.
Corso, Point Borough Schools Superintendent Vincent Smith and Point Borough Transportation Supervisor Jonathan Triebwasser took vacation days to help collect and load the food and then drove with Introna to the McDonald House in Philadelphia to serve the meal.
The house on Chestnut Street in Philadelphia has 60 rooms, where parents of children at local hospitals, such as Children's Specialized Hospital, stay for about $15 per night, a great boon to families who likely cannot afford to stay in hotels for extended periods, Corso said. The House also tries to provide food for the parents as often as possible.
The Ronald McDonald House has been providing comfort and support to the families of critically ill or injured children in a home-away-from-home environment since it was founded in 1974.
The Ronald McDonald House supports families of seriously ill children by providing a community of comfort and hope. The Ronald McDonald House also runs Ronald McDonald Camp in the Poconos which provides one week of camp for oncology patients and their siblings.
In addition, it operates two Ronald McDonald Family Rooms at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to provide a space for families away from the bedside. Founded 38 years ago as the very first Ronald McDonald House in the world, today it is the model for over 300 Houses throughout the globe, according to a prepared statement.
What began with a single house, borne of a partnership between Philadelphia physician Dr. Audrey Evans and Philadelphia Eagles’ player Fred Hill, whose daughter was being treated for leukemia, has since evolved into Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC), a comprehensive global initiative aimed at improving the lives of children through the core programs: Ronald McDonald House, Ronald McDonald Family Room and the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile.
Local Chapters of Ronald McDonald House Charities operate Programs in 56 countries and regions across the globe. With 305 locations, the Ronald McDonald House continues to be the most prevalent of all RMHC Programs, providing parents with the opportunity to stay near their hospitalized children at one of more than 7,200 bedrooms offered to families around the world each night.
Because RMHC Programs are offered at little- to no-cost to families, community support, from donations and the work of volunteers, is essential to the organization’s ability to continue providing assistance to families in need.
“I can confidently assert that almost everyone knows someone who has been impacted by the services provided by Ronald McDonald House Charities,” Corso said.
Citing his own personal experience with the Ronald McDonald House, in addition to the number of district families who are currently receiving or have recently received services from the Ronald McDonald House, as the impetus for launching the charitable effort, Corso explained how the initiative represented a way to put gratitude for the services offered by Ronald McDonald House Charities into action.
“District administration and staff share my belief that all those connected to Point Pleasant Borough Schools, from students and parents, to community members and friends, are part of one large family,” said Corso. “And judging by the support each extended member of the Point Pleasant Schools family pledged to this effort, the sentiment is shared among the community.”
“The supply drive was just one facet of the effort to support the Ronald McDonald House,” continued Corso, “which also included providing a home-cooked meal to the House’s guest families.”
Food donations also came in the form of large trays of baked ziti and other delicious, prepared food from Joe Leone’s and Colonial Ranch Market, four large pizzas from Joe Spano's Tomato Pies and bread, rolls, pastries and cake donated by The Country Bakery, Bridge Avenue, Point Borough and Mueller's Bakery, Bridge Avenue, Bay Head.
Using the house kitchen, the team of school administrators and Introna prepared and served the feast to the guests before packing and labeling the leftovers, cleaning the kitchen and washing the dishes.
“I can personally attest how comforting it is to be able to enjoy a delicious home-cooked meal, served by caring volunteers, while in the midst of what is probably one of the most difficult situations a parent can endure,” added Corso.
“Thanks to the overwhelming generosity of our community, the guest families residing at the Chestnut Street Ronald McDonald House will have days’ worth of healthy and delicious food from the leftovers, in addition to a huge selection of supplies gathered through the Wish List Drives, that will hopefully provide a modicum of comfort throughout the duration of their stay.”
“The enthusiasm with which Point Pleasant Borough Schools’ students and staff embrace charitable endeavors is an inspiration,” Smith said.
“There is little doubt that their collective altruistic spirit is the result of similar behavior modeled by community members and the denizens of local business," Smith continued. "Their efforts on behalf of the Ronald McDonald House are but a glimpse into the generosity and magnanimity characterized by our community on a regular basis.
“I am grateful not only for the community’s continued support of district initiatives, but also for demonstrating to our students, the importance of helping others,” Smith added.
To find out more about the Point Pleasant School District, visit the district website.