Judith Rodriguez-Negron (back row, second from left) leads a team of Blue Crew volunteers in cooking, setting up, and serving a special meal celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month for residents at the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House on Erie Avenue.
For Blue Crew volunteer Judith Rodriguez-Negron, planning, preparing, and serving a monthly dinner for the families staying at the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House on Erie Avenue is a win-win. “It’s simple. I love to cook, and they need to eat.”
Love is an essential ingredient in our Blue Crew’s efforts to feed families living temporarily at the Ronald McDonald House while they’re caring for a seriously ill child receiving treatment at local hospitals.
In addition to two Philadelphia locations, Blue Crew volunteers support Ronald McDonald Houses in New Jersey and Delaware. Our volunteers pay for or donate the food that’s used to prepare each month’s meals, in addition to preparing, serving, and cleaning up.
Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month
Judith says in the five years since she’s been the project lead at the Erie Avenue location, there’s nothing our volunteers won’t do to make sure the families — many whose children are being cared for at St. Christopher’s Hospital — have a home-cooked meal waiting for them at the end of a long, tiring day.
She plans each month’s dinner around a specific theme, like pasta night or a Thanksgiving feast.
To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, the Blue Crew teamed up with our Latinos con Propósito resource group to purchase ingredients to prepare and serve comida del corazón — food from the heart — for almost 50 people.
The traditional meal included rice, beans, beef patties known as pastelillos, and flan.
“We always try to provide something of substance,” Judith says, “and the residents are always appreciative of whatever we provide. Several people said this was some of the best food they’ve had recently.”
Thank You for Feeding Me
Not only does volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House bring our employees together to support our community, Judith says it puts life into perspective for everyone involved.
This year’s meal in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month was especially meaningful, Judith says, because a family from Puerto Rico was staying at the house and faced uncertainty about returning home in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
She also recalls a moment when, on one of the Blue Crew nights, a little boy receiving treatment was able to eat his first meal in weeks. “When a little person like him comes up to you and says thank you for feeding me, it makes everything we do worthwhile.”