April Volunteer of the Month – Eleanor Reardon
Meet our volunteers! Each month, we highlight stand-out volunteers and how they support families. For April, meet Eleanor Reardon, who has been a welcome face at our Ronald McDonald House near UChicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital for over a year.
- How long have you volunteered with Ronald McDonald House?
I started participating as a Team Volunteer in January 2022 at the Ronald McDonald House near UChicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital. I became involved individually after previously cooking dinner there (prior to 2020) with Mount Carmel High School. My husband and I provided breakfast last year for Easter, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. I cooked dinner on Halloween and both of us cooked dinner on Super Bowl Sunday this year.
- Where do you typically volunteer, and what do you usually do?
As a Team Volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House near UChicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital, I participate every Saturday and Sunday morning. During my shifts I tackle a variety of tasks, and I also like to bake goodies for the families to help them feel more at home. Doing this is a win-win for me since I love to bake but can’t eat everything that I make! I’m also happy to do whatever needs to be done at the House like emptying garbage, stocking supplies, cleaning the playroom, making welcome bags, doing laundry, helping meal groups, and sorting donations – just to name a few of the things I do. In addition to my participation as an individual volunteer, my husband and I also support RMHC-CNI by making meals at the House. We’ve cooked for Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Halloween and Super Bowl Sunday.
- Why did you first start volunteering with Ronald McDonald House, and what keeps you coming back?
I absolutely love the Ronald McDonald House because everyone is so welcoming. Plus, trust me, I definitely get more out of volunteering and helping these families during the most trying times of their lives than you could ever believe. One of the reasons I decided to volunteer is that my cousin was born with Spinal Bifida more than 50 years ago. At that time, I remember my aunt sleeping uncomfortably in a chair next to my cousin’s hospital bed for almost four years until she passed away. I just want to ensure no other family member of a hospitalized child has to worry about not having a place to sleep.
- What is your favorite memory or experience from volunteering?
The most impactful memory has occurred on more than one occasion, and it is when a family leaves Ronald McDonald House with their child to return to their home. Nothing else brings me more joy!
- If someone was thinking about becoming a volunteer with our organization, what would you tell them about getting involved?
I would highly recommend volunteering at any of the Ronald McDonald Houses to anyone. Anything you do is so appreciated and there is definitely something for everyone to do. We all have a purpose in life, and I can’t imagine volunteering anywhere else where you leave feeling so fulfilled.
Thank you, Eleanor for your contributions to helping families feel at home!