Volunteer at Ronald McDonald House near Lurie Children’s

Large Group Meals from the Heart

lunch group

flying chefs1

Our Ronald McDonald House near Lurie Children’s opened on June 26, 2012 at 211 East Grand in Streeterville and supports the needs of families whose children are receiving treatment at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and Northwestern Memorial Hospital. 


Our House offers 15-stories of care & comfort for families of hospitalized children and includes 66 guest rooms, a rooftop healing deck and a kitchen filled with home-cooked meals and supportive conversation. 

We’re seeking many volunteers to help operate the House and care for our families. We rely on the time, talents and gifts of individuals, associations and businesses to keep families together. Here is a sampling of the volunteer opportunities that are critical in the success of creating a warm, inviting ‘home away from home’ for the families that stay with us. 


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Group and One-Time Opportunities


Family Activities Program
Family Activities volunteers (up to 8 people) provide daily activities at the House such as arts and crafts, story time, laughter therapy, music during dinner, theatre and more.  The possibilities are endless for our volunteers to share their time and talents to create a “daily diversion”  for our families.  If you have a talent you’d like to share, let us know. *Please note: Family Activities does not include baking.  For groups interested in baking, please learn more about our “Cookies from the Heart” program. CLICK HERE to apply to be a Family Activities volunteer.


Meals from the Heart
“The kitchen is the heart of every home.” The meals provided by generous volunteers bring love into the House every day, allowing families to unwind, de-stress and fortify their bodies to be at their best for their child in the hospital. Meals from the Heart volunteers work as a group (up to 20 people) to plan the menu, purchase the ingredients and prepare the meal in our fully equipped kitchen, allowing families to find nourishment and comfort in a shared meal. Please note: ALL food must be prepared in our kitchen or brought directly from a commercial kitchen. Par-baked or pre-prepared food will not be able to be served. CLICK HERE to apply to be a ‘Meals from the Heart’ group and watch a video about cooking specifically at our House on Grand Avenue.


Cookies from the Heart

Nothing beats the smell of homemade cookies baking in the oven to remind you of home.  Cookies from the Heart volunteers (up to 10 people) work in our kitchen from 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. every day and make cookies from scratch for our families to enjoy.  Groups provide the ingredients and bake in our kitchens so when the families return from a day at the hospital, they can help themselves to a cookie or two.  Usually we ask that volunteers make four to five dozen of your favorite cookie recipe.  CLICK HERE to check kitchen availability and apply to be a Cookies from the Heart volunteer.


Meals from the Heart Family Room at Lurie Children’s Hospital 

The meals provided by our generous volunteer groups bring warmth, relief, and love to our families. Patients’ parents staying in our Family Room at Lurie Children’s Hospital may be unable to leave the hospital for extended periods and thus do not participate in the House meals. Providing meals in the Family Room itself will allow parents to remain close to their children, while taking a break to reenergize and enjoy a delicious meal. Meals from the Heart Family Room volunteers work in a small group (2-4 people) to provide professionally catered or restaurant-prepared meals to the families staying in the sleep rooms located at the hospital. Possible ways for the community to help provide food for the families include restaurant donated meals or groups sponsoring catered meals. Please note: These meals will be provided to families staying at the hospital, not the house. All catered and restaurant-prepared meals must be packaged and sealed. CLICK HERE to check availability and apply to be a ‘Meals from the Heart’ volunteer. 



Individual Volunteer Opportunities

*Volunteers commit to at least one shift once a month for at least a year commitment.  Volunteers attend Information Session, Orientation I and Orientation II as well as pass a background check.


Family Ambassadors
Located on the 1st and 5th floors, Family Ambassadors greet families, assist them at check-in, give them a tour and help them acclimate.  Family Ambassadors also contribute to House operations, answering phones and helping families with their daily needs.
*To apply to be a Family Ambassador, complete the application below.


House Refreshers
For the volunteer who likes to stay busy, House Refreshers help organize the common areas, collect donations, stock supplies and linens.  This team is vital to providing a comfortable ‘home away from home’ for our families and House Refreshers get to meet families all over the House while they are working to ensure everything is tidy and fresh.
*To apply to be a House Refresher, complete the application below.


Kitchen Helpers
Kitchen Helpers help keep our kitchen tidy, organized and ready for our Meals from the Heart volunteers.  Because the kitchen is the heart of every home, it is the “hub” of activity at our House, so there are plenty of opportunities to connect with families and get to know their stories.  It is also the area that could use the most TLC!
*To apply to be a Kitchen Helper, complete the application below.


Transplant Liaisons
Transplant Liaisons work to ensure the transplant floors are neat, tidy and disinfected (as children staying within the floors are highly susceptible to common illness).  Transplant Liaisons are the “steady face” for our families so they can rest assured that the floor is being cared for with a critical eye.  The role involves hands-on family  interaction which includes mentoring and modeling safe kitchen procedures, as well as being an advocate for these families, ensuring that we meet all their needs and alleviate any of their concerns.
*To apply to be a Transplant Liaison, complete the application below.


Home Improvement Team
With such a large House, there are many fix-it projects.  Volunteers who like to use their hands will work closely with our Facilities Director to oversee the home improvement list.  Job assignments include everything from changing light bulbs to fixing broken items in the House.
*To apply to be a part of the Home Improvement Team, complete the application below.


Meal Helper

Meal Helpers act as a partner to our Meals from the Heart volunteers while they are cooking at the House and act as a lead in helping them access the House and utilize the kitchen to it’s highest potential. Meal Helpers help find supplies, orient the Meals from the Heart volunteers and keep the kitchens organized during the meal.
*To apply to be a Meal Helper, complete the application below.



If you are interested in any of the individual responsibilities, please fill out the application below.




Please contact Ashley Berntgen




General Information


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Personal References


Volunteer Experience (e.g. community, civic, religious organizations):