May Volunteer of the Month – Melanie Moynihan
Meet our volunteers! Each month, we highlight stand-out volunteers and how they support families. For May, meet Melanie Moynihan, who has spent more than 14 years helping families from making meals to organizing donations.
- How long have you volunteered with RMHC-CNI?
I first started as a volunteer by cooking meals for the Ronald McDonald House near Comer Children’s Hospital approximately 14 years ago. I think became an individual volunteer at the House and have been volunteering weekly in that role for about four years now.
- Where/how do you typically volunteer, and what do you usually do?
I currently volunteer every Wednesday at the Ronald McDonald House near Comer Children’s Hospital. During a volunteer shift you can find me tackling a wide variety of tasks, including stocking, organizing and wiping down the kitchen, sorting donations, filling Welcome Bags, cleaning the playroom, refreshing the toy closet, cleaning the refrigerators – and more. Basically, I’ll do anything that needs to be done for the House.There is nothing I won’t do to help, and I always ask for a list on what needs to be done! Plus, I also provide support by preparing meals for the guest families. I do this as part of my shifts on Wednesdays if/when the House doesn’t have a volunteer group there to cook through Meals from the Heart.
- Why did you first start volunteering with RMHC-CNI, and what keeps you coming back?
There have actually been several instances over the years that inspired and motivated my participation as a volunteer. I first started volunteering 14 years ago when my friend’s son needed heart surgery at only 10 weeks old. When I asked her what I could do to help, she shared that they really appreciated the meals provided at the Ronald McDonald House after their long days at the hospital. That inspired me and another friend to look into cooking meals for the families, and we got started right away!Then, about seven years ago, my coworker’s daughter was born with a condition that required many surgeries and therefore many nights at the Ronald McDonald House near Comer Children’s Hospital. When that happened, I went back to cooking dinners at the House to support them during that challenging time.Finally, it was after I cared for my father who passed, and after my boys left the house, that I felt I had the time to volunteer regularly. So, that was when I became an individual volunteer and took on weekly, Wednesday shifts at the House. Needless to say, my volunteerism has been quite the journey!
- What is your favorite memory or experience from volunteering?
My favorite memories have to be the “thank you”s and smiles from families at the House. I always try to brighten a family’s day one way or another. And, I am always grateful to be able to make a difference at the House. Seeing what so many families face on a daily basis has made me really appreciate the opportunity to help however again, and also grateful for all that I have.
- If someone was thinking about becoming a volunteer with our organization, what would you tell them about getting involved?
I would highly recommend for anyone to volunteer! I tell people there are many different ways they can provide support, whether it be at one of the Ronald McDonald Family Rooms or Houses, at an event, or even going to the Amazon Wish List and purchasing some much-needed household supplies.Plus, I look forward to my Wednesdays. Wednesdays at the Ronald McDonald House are my Zen time. I have such a rewarding feeling every time I finish a shift.
Thank you Melanie for your many years of dedication and support!