Meals from the Heart

Families who stay at our five Houses are experiencing incredibly difficult situations, and are often far away from their support systems.

Through our Meals from the Heart program, our generous volunteers come together to build a menu, purchase ingredients and prepare warm, home-cooked meals in our House kitchen to be served to families. Meals From the Heart allows families to dine and unwind so they can be refreshed for their child in the hospital, without the worry or time to prepare a meal for themselves.


Meals from the Heart volunteers work as a group (up to 10 people) to plan menus, purchase ingredients and prepare meals in our Houses’ fully-equipped kitchens. ALL food must be prepared in our kitchens or brought directly from a commercial kitchen. We are not able to serve par-baked or pre-prepared food.

Please note- We are currently accepting Meals from the Heart applications through August 31, 2019. For meal applications submitted after the August 31 date will be discarded. September dates will be available for booking June 1, 2019. Please check back for future updates. 

Sign Up to Volunteer!


Meals From the Heart Calendar

Interested in volunteering as a group to cook for our Meals from the Heart program? Check availability at our Houses:

Ronald McDonald House near Advocate

Ronald McDonald House near Loyola University Medical Center

Ronald McDonald House near Lurie Children’s

Ronald McDonald House near Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital

Ronald McDonald House near UChicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital (Please call the House at 773-324-5437 to select a day/time for a grab and go meal to be dropped off.)


Interested in catering a meal to our Meals from the Heart program? Check availability at our Family Rooms:

Ronald McDonald Family Room Edward Hospital

Ronald McDonald Family Room in Lurie Children’s


For questions, contact Brittany Wozniak, Volunteer Services Specialist at

Meals from the Heart FAQ

Will I have to bring my own dishes, serving utensils, plates, etc.? What kitchen supplies are available to me?
The House will provide all of the dishes, glasses, silverware and utensils needed to serve families.  Our kitchens are equipped with all of the supplies that you will need to prepare your meal. There are bowls, baking pans, blender, serving utensils, knives, cookie sheets, pots and pans, measuring cups, stoves, microwaves and ovens.

I have a group interested in participating our Meals from the Heart program, but our numbers exceed the maximum participants in the guidelines. Can we still participate?
If you have a volunteer group that exceeds the number of participants in the stated guidelines, we ask that you please split up your group to provide two separate meals on different dates. The more meals, the merrier!

If I have a recipe that requires marinating in advance, can I do that at my home?
The food that you are bringing into the Houses should be unopened and unaltered from when you purchased it.

Can I cut my veggies at my home to help speed up preparation?
You must do all  food preparation at the Houses. To simplify the preparation guidelines, RMHC-CNI is asking that you purchase the food and bring it to the House unaltered.

Can I stay and eat dinner with the families and my group?
You are more than welcome to dine with our families. If you do, please adjust the food supply accordingly.  Some families enjoy interacting with volunteers while others enjoy eating quietly on their own.

Do we need to accommodate special diets?
There is no need to do so, but we do ask that you label the ingredients in the food you prepare. It is a nice option to have one meat-free dish available, but it is not required.