Food for the Soul

May 13th, 2022

Yesterday, it was raining really hard as I made my way to the Ronald McDonald Family Room® and I was questioning whether I should continue making the long commute from Greendale to Oconomowoc. Then, I arrived to find Kelly, the Family Room Manager, pulling up with a carload of food and beverages for families who visit the Family Room. As I started unpacking little frozen meals, cheese sticks, sausage sticks, vegetables, dip choices, etc. I said to myself, that ride is worth every mile as I have the privilege to help these families in some small way. As I added new beverages to the refrigerator, I felt a sense of pride in the quality of healthy food and beverage choices we offer in the Family Room, absolutely free of charge. Food isn’t always a priority when stress is involved, but when it’s so easily available, you remember to eat.

By the end of my shift, I had a variety of snack bags filled with grapes, celery, carrots, cherry tomatoes and peppers – all fresh and ready for families to enjoy. A gentleman came in to work at one of the tables in the kitchen and commented on how wonderful it was to have so many healthy choices available and expressed how grateful he was. I invited him to help himself as he commented on how good everything looked, and he did!

Family Room Stocked Fridge


Guest Family Feedback

“Restaurants have not always been a positive experience for our family, so this gave us a chance to eat together in a quiet environment and catch up.”

“Everything from the snacks, to the kitchen, to the Creativity Room were top notch and we felt very grateful to be able to use such a wonderful place to visit with our daughter.”

“Our daughter had her first snack with the family in a very long time!”

“It was so nice to have fresh food available; I was getting really tired of eating fast food. Thank you!”

“A lovely and welcoming “home.” We are so grateful to have this location to go to. A relief for our entire family.”


I feel an energy when I walk through the door of the Family Room and imagine visitors/family members feel it as well. It is a sense that this is a kind, friendly, safe place to be. There are so many unknowns when dealing with mental health, especially if it’s your child, that as a volunteer, I feel so honored to be able to help welcome guests into this very special space. You feel the relief, the grateful heart, and so much more every single time a family member arrives and when they leave. It is truly a haven, a respite nestled into a wooded area that feels so organic – there is a sense of peace. I love feeling the energy that is present when the TV is on, guests are on the phone or busily working on their computers, the smell of coffee, the snacks and food that are available absolutely free of charge. I hear family members talking together and sharing – I can’t imagine how helpful it is to know others are going through similar challenges. And, over and over again, I have had the honor to hear guests express how grateful they are for everything provided, whether it’s the laundry room, food, a beautiful space to relax or work, the Quiet Room, the Creativity Room, the view and so much more.

There isn’t enough attention given these days to all of the good things that are being done for others. The Ronald McDonald House® and Family Room, Ladish Co. Foundation, Rogers Behavioral Health, and all of the people involved are a great example of collaborative efforts that help others and it feels good to be a small part of that.

-Marlene Bruno

RMHC® Eastern Wisconsin Volunteer

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