Durham Meal Teams

Serve up love to families at Ronald McDonald House of Durham!

Meal # of Cooks Arrival Time Serving Time # to Feed
Dinner Up to 8 As necessary 5:30pm 60

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Providing a meal is a wonderful way to support RMHCT families while caring for one of their most basic needs. It removes a heavy burden from parents so they can focus on their child’s care and wellbeing. Your group can offer the warm welcome of a nutritious warm meal to families at the end of a tough day.

We welcome meal teams of up to eight people every day of the week. Groups plan the menu and provide the ingredients. Meals are scheduled in advance, and the online meal calendar can be viewed below, with open dates appearing blank.

Contact Clay@RMHCTriangle.org for more information.

What You Need To Know

  • Purchase food for 60 people for dinner
  • Serving time for dinner is 5:30 p.m.
  • Meals are to be individually boxed/plated in three-compartment to-go containers
  • Boxes should be labeled with the date and contents – many volunteers find it works best to have these pre-printed before arrival
  • Maximum group size is 8 people; children 13 years and older may participate and must be supervised by an adult
  • If you have never cooked at the Durham House, a kitchen tour can be provided ahead of your meal date; please contact the volunteer manager to schedule a tour if interested
  • Groups are required to cook all food on site at RMH; we are unable to accept food prepared at home; however, we can accept items that have been prepared in an inspected facility (grocery store, restaurant, caterer, etc.)
  • You may photograph your group, but please do not include our guests in the photos
  • Although you may not see many of our guests while you are here (most spend as much time as possible at the hospital with their child), please know that leftover food is consumed; please consider meal options that are easy for the guests to re-heat when they return from the hospital
  • Clean-up is a required part of meal preparation
  • Please keep in mind that we serve medically fragile patients and their families; if you are sick, please stay home
  • CANCELLATION POLICY: In order to meet the needs of families, we require at least 48 hours notice for cancellation; families are counting on you, so if you have to cancel we ask that you make arrangements to provide a meal by bringing pre-prepared food or making other arrangements such as catering
  • Groups must arrive between 3:30-4:00 p.m; groups may arrive as early as 3:00 p.m. with prior approval
  • Volunteers park in our middle and lower lots or on the street where it is marked “RMH loading and unloading only”; parking can be limited, so please consider carpooling
  • Volunteers will report to the main entrance and will need to be buzzed in; meal team members can park near the main entrance to unload supplies – please be sure to ask for a cart to help transport the items to the kitchen
  • All meal group members must sign in; the first member to arrive or the team leader will pick up an in-kind donation form at the front desk; please be sure to complete and return this to the front desk before leaving
  • Volunteers are required to wash their hands regularly and wear gloves while preparing food; we encourage changing gloves often; groups are encouraged to bring their own food-prep gloves
  • It is of utmost importance to bring enough people to help cook and package the meal and clean up after the meal is prepared; all kitchen areas must be sanitized and wiped down after meal is finished

We will be happy to help your group come up with menu ideas. We welcome meal creativity. Our only request is that your planned meal be a complete meal. For planning purposes, please let us know the week prior to your meal date what your group has chosen to cook so that we can avoid duplicate menus.

Example of a complete meal: roasted chicken, rice pilaf, sliced tomato and cucumber salad, and green beans.

We have four stoves/ovens, three dishwashers, four sinks, plenty of counter space, and an ample selection of pots, pans, cooking utensils and cleaning supplies. If you need a specific kitchen gadget to prepare the meal, feel free to bring it with you. The volunteer restroom is located directly across the hall from the kitchen.

Our families come from a variety of backgrounds. The one thing that all RMH families have in common is they have a child being treated at the hospital. Many of our families are under a lot of stress and appreciate coming back to the House after an exhausting day at the hospital to a relaxed, home-cooked meal. While many of our families may not make it back in time for the meal, we save leftovers in our House refrigerator for families to enjoy later when they return to the House.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, we rely on the community to feed our guests. You will plan a menu, shop for groceries, and prepare the food for the meal you are serving.

Up to 8 volunteers may participate in serving a meal. All volunteers are over the age of 13 and have parental supervision.

Due to the space available in our kitchens, we ask that all groups follow the 8-person-per-group rule. Your team is welcome to pick an additional day to cook so all members can participate.

Please plan and cook for 60 individuals. We will reach out the week before your meal to confirm final numbers.

Our kitchen has four stoves/ovens, three dishwashers, four sinks, plenty of counter space, and an ample selection of pots, pans, cooking utensils and cleaning supplies. We also have some basic spices and seasonings. If you need a specific kitchen gadget or spice to prepare the meal, feel free to bring it with you. Some meal groups find it helpful to bring disposable pans, which can make clean-up faster, but these are not necessary.

You do not need to plan a menu to accommodate special diets, but please know your menu and be prepared to answer any questions about ingredients used that guests may have.

Drinks and dessert are not required but are always welcome! Please make sure that all desserts are individually packaged as well. If you do have drinks, individual sized cans and bottles work best.

Once the meal is ready and has been plated in to-go containers, please set everything out on the kitchen island. When the kitchen has been cleaned and sanitized, your group can leave, and House staff will announce that dinner is ready.

After a period of time, House staff will place leftover portions in our leftover refrigerator for families to enjoy when they return from the hospital later in the evening. All leftovers are consumed by grateful House guests.