Every Wednesday, Ronald McDonald House volunteers spend an afternoon running the coffee cart in the Seattle Children’s Family Resource Center. The coffee cart is a shared endeavor between Seattle Children’s and the Ronald McDonald House. It’s stocked with cookies, coffee, hot cocoa, and tea, and it's a service for everyone at the hospital. The coffee cart offers parents and caregivers a rare chance to relax and recharge from the stress of having a child with a serious illness.
“The people who visit us just want to take a break from everything,” says Eila, one of the coffee cart volunteers. “It’s a program that you can tell people really appreciate.”
Two volunteers, Steve and Ann Moll, are Everett natives. In addition to visiting the Family Resource Center, they also make a special trip to the hospital’s infusion unit, where many kids get their chemotherapy treatments or other medicines.
"Some of these kids are so spirited and courageous, it's really amazing." Steve says. "Last week, I met a little girl returning from a short walk, pushing along her IV pole. She showed me where she'd last gotten an infusion - which was healing up and on ice - but the staff had put a big pink bow around it. She was really excited, because it matched the pink outfit she was wearing. It's these kinds of heartwarming moments that make our week. I feel privileged to come and serve the families here."
The time spent volunteering in the coffee cart program is something that the volunteers say is immensely gratifying.
"Ann and I are both retired nurses, but I mostly took care of adults in my professional career," says Steve. "I'd have to say that I get more time to apply the art of nursing - not the science - in my volunteer work here. There's a healing that hopefully takes place during that interpersonal exchange, no matter how brief. Ann and I get a chance to connect with folks being served at this amazing care facility from all corners of the world."
Eila agrees that this is a special program, recounting a time she spoke to a woman through a translator at coffee hour whose child had been born with a serious condition.
“It was amazing to share with her that my friend had faced the exact same situation,” says Eila, “and that her baby was now a healthy 28 year old man!” For parents and caregivers, being able to talk to someone about the challenges they face can be a huge help and offer them hope when they need it most.
To learn more about the House and how you can become a volunteer, check out www.rmhcseattle.org