Meals from the Heart program:
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How do I sign up?
- Start by reading the Meals from the Heart guidelines. To participate in the program, all volunteers are required to review and agree. Next, decide if you want to drop off a meal or prepare one inside the House. Then sign up using our online calendar. If you are having issues with the online calendar, please visit the How to Sign Up page for more details.
2. Do I need to be vaccinated for COVID-19 to participate in the program?
- Yes. At this time, all volunteers participating in the limited Meals from the Heart opportunity will need to be vaccinated for COVID-19 (not including the booster) to enter into the House and prepare a meal.
3. Do I have to wear a mask while volunteering?
- Yes. All volunteers must wear a mask while inside the Ronald McDonald House (even if they are vaccinated for COVID-19). Extra masks are available at the front desk.
4. What information do I need to check in?
- Please bring a current photo ID and the information regarding your COVID-19 vaccine (date(s) and type).
5. How many people can I have in my group?
- During this limited volunteer period, groups can have a maximum of ten individuals. Children over the age of 12 can participate if they are vaccinated and are included in the group total.
6. How do I get there?
- For directions to any of our three locations, please visit our Map and Directions page.
7. How many people should I prepare for?
- Our Ronald McDonald House program is still not at total capacity. Family meals should serve approximately 25-30 individuals at the Park Avenue House and 40-45 individuals at the West Pine and West County locations. You are also welcome to call our Family Services Team for an update on the number of families to prepare for.
8. What should I prepare?
- The menu is up to your group. We encourage family favorites and meals that will reheat well. Check out our list of recent menus from other volunteer groups.
Ronald McDonald House Procedures
1. Can I still deliver a meal, instead of preparing it at the House?
- Yes. You are encouraged to deliver a meal to any of the three House locations. Check out the meal delivery example list for ideas.
2. Is this opportunity available at all three locations?
- Yes, families are staying at all three of the St. Louis area Ronald McDonald Houses.
3. Why do I need to check in when I arrive?
- Because the safety and security of our residents is a top priority, we have instituted a policy that requires everyone over the age of 18 to present a valid form of identification and check-in through a system that searches the National Sex Offender Registry. Upon check-in, you will receive a visitor badge. Please make sure that everyone in your group receives this notice. Without an ID, we will be unable to check you into the Ronald McDonald House. Thank you so much for helping us keep our families safe.
4. What time are meals served?
- Dinner is served buffet-style at 6 p.m. The recommended arrival time to prepare dinner is 4:30-5 p.m. Breakfast is served buffet-style at 9 a.m. The recommended arrival time to prepare Breakfast is 7:30-8 a.m. (Please do not arrive before 7:30 a.m.).
5. What is in the kitchen?
- The kitchens are stocked with standard kitchen equipment, including a grill at each location. Each kitchen also has plates, bowls, silverware, and everything you should need for serving. Coffee, tea, and soda machines are available on-site. If you would like to bring other types of drinks, you can, but it is not required.
6. Do I need to stay and clean up?
- Please plan to stay until approximately 7 p.m. to put food away and clean up the kitchen and dining room areas. It is important for meals to be packaged in individual containers for the safety of guest families. Please consider bringing individual disposable containers, similar to the ones linked here, with you. If you are unable to stay for cleanup, please advise the Manager on duty.
7. Why are there not more families here at mealtime?
- Not all families are here when meals are served as they may be at the hospital. Guest families also may not feel comfortable being in community spaces during high traffic times. They will enjoy the meal later when there are fewer individuals in the dining areas or once they return from the hospital.