RMH Houston’s Meal Program

Help Feed Our Families

RMH Icons TXT _ Fill
RMH Icons TXT _ Sponsor
RMH Icons TXT _ Meals

For Ronald McDonald House Houston families, eating consistent, nutritious meals during their hospital stay can be a huge challenge. In addition to caring for their seriously ill child, families are often confronted with secondary, unexpected costs, including the burden of accessing/purchasing food. We estimate the average cost of a single adult meal in the Texas Medical Center is approximately $12.00. For a week’s worth of meals, that amount could quickly add up to $250. Currently, the average length of stay for our families is between 3-6 months.  Additionally, the Texas Medical Center Area has limited grocery store access, and parents have limited storage capabilities at the hospitals to store more economically priced food options.

In addition to the financial burden onthe caretaker, the thought of leaving their child’s bedside to grab a bite to eat can be terrifying. caregivers often end up buying snacks at a vending machine or skipping a meal entirely. JoyFULL Eats is RMHH’s solution to help alleviate hunger while families are supporting their seriously ill child. Our meal program aims to provide healthy and convenient food options for the children and families at our four RMH Houston locations. Through JoyFULL Eats, RMHH helps mitigate the challenges caregivers face when trying to find quick and healthy food options while their child is receiving care.

Fill Our Pantry

Host a snack drive for Ronald McDonald House Houston families and help stock our pantry shelves. 

Community groups, corporations, congregations, scout troops, or school clubs can join together to share the love with RMHH families. Individually packaged snacks make a huge impact on a parent’s day. Snacks are conveniently distributed and restocked multiple times daily throughout all four RMHH locations so that everyone can enjoy a quick pick-me-up.

Items We Need Most (microwavable, single-serve items preferred):

  • Granola bars
  • Pop-Tarts
  • Crackers & pretzels
  • Fruit snacks
  • Tuna & chicken lunch kits
  • Ramen & Easy Mac
  • Hot chocolate
  • Assorted chips
  • Chef Boyardee meals

*For health and safety purposes, only unexpired donations will be accepted. Please check expiration dates before making a pantry donation. 

Stuff the Bus

Not able to deliver your collected snacks to RMHH? Don’t worry! We can bring our shuttle bus to you! An RMHH staff member will assist with loading the food onto the bus while meeting and greeting participants. Bring coffee and doughnuts to share with your contributors while the bus is being loaded. It’s a great way to have some fun, help our families, and make a big impact in our community.

Having access to a hot meal in the middle of the night, after not having had time to eat all day because your child is not doing well, is a God-send for us. We appreciate these meals more than you'll ever know.

-Ezekiel, parent

Sponsor a Meal at RMH Houston

House

Holcombe House

MDA Hospital

(MD Anderson Cancer Hospital)

CMHH Hospital

(Childrens Memorial Hermann Hospital)

TCH Hospital

(Texas Children's Hospital)

Address

Number of Servings

65-70 Family Members

45 Family Members

25 Family Members

25 Family Members

Meal Options

In-person or catering

Catering only

Catering only

Catering only

Approximate Catering Cost

$500-$800 or price of ingredients

$350-$500

$200-$300

$200-$300

Calendar

H-E-B Simple Meals

Nutritious meals can be hard to come by in our hospital locations, especially on the weekends. Convenience foods, while filling for the moment, do not always provide many nutrients. H-E-B Simple Meals help us fill the gap.

These healthy, fresh, single-serve meals can be easily heated in the hospital’s Family Room or Holcombe House microwave. Whether it’s tomato soup, chicken and veggies, or a slice of quiche, hungry caregivers can easily heat and eat a delicious meal and quickly return to their child.

All H-E-B Simple Meals are complimentary for our families.

Help us feed our families by sending an H-E-B gift card to purchase H-E-B Simple Meals. The easiest and most convenient way is to send an e-gift card today. To ensure timely delivery, please direct e-gift cards to our Food Operations Manager, Bettina Leuschen, at JoyFullEats@rmhhouston.org.

When I open the refrigerator to grab a meal, I feel like I'm at my grandmother's house! You have no idea what a feeling that gives me, so much peace!

Leslie, parent

JoyFULL Eats FAQs

Is there an age limit to volunteer for JoyFULL Eats?

To ensure the safety of all volunteers, as well as the food safety of the meals being prepared for our families, all JoyFULL Eats volunteers must be at least 18 years old and have a valid Government-issued photo ID to participate.

Are COVID-19 vaccines required to volunteer for JoyFULL Eats?

Yes, for the safety of guest families, volunteers, and staff, all volunteers must be fully vaccinated and bring proof of vaccination when you arrive to volunteer. We also require all participants to commit to wearing a face covering for the duration of the time in the houses.

 

My volunteer group has more than the maximum number of participants in the guidelines. Can we volunteer together?

The Holcombe House location currently allows a maximum size of up to (6) volunteers if only providing a meal and up to (10) if an activity is included. We are accepting catered meals at our hospital locations; however, group volunteers are not allowed per hospital policies at this time. If your group includes more than the maximum number of volunteers, we ask that you divide your group and provide meals on different dates if possible.

I have extra volunteers or children who want to attend, can they come and watch without volunteering?

No – everyone in your group should be there to actively volunteer. Children or adults beyond the maximum group size are not able to attend.

Someone in my volunteer group isn’t feeling well. Can they still participate?

All volunteers must be entirely illness- and symptom-free for at least 14 days before volunteering. For the safety of families, we will not allow volunteers with an illness or symptoms of any kind to participate at this time.

I volunteered and then tested positive for COVID-19. Should I let RMHH know?

Any volunteer who tests positive for COVID-19 within 14 days of volunteering should inform us immediately by emailing joyfulleats@rmhhouston.org. This allows us to take the necessary steps for the safety and well-being of anyone else who may be impacted.

What time is best to come in to serve?

While we do have opportunities for both lunch and dinner time, we strongly suggest coming for dinner. The Families are usually at the hospital throughout the day. During dinner time more families can enjoy the meals and there is more opportunity for your group to interact with the families. Its usually a much better experience.

What is the time commitment for each meal?

Groups should plan to volunteer for 2-4 hours, depending on whether the food is being catered or prepared at the house and if there’s an activity with the meal. Please discuss with the Food Operations Manager.

Please note – groups are required to clean up after preparing the meal, so all volunteers should expect to be at the House until clean-up is complete.

Can I start meal preparation at my home?

No – to ensure food safety, all preparation must be done at the House. Any food or groceries brought with you must be unopened and unaltered from the time of purchase. Catered food is allowed as long as it was prepared in a commercial kitchen and transported directly from the store or restaurant to the House or Family Room.

If catering, how many people will I be ordering for?

At our Holcombe House we currently serve from 65-70 family members, MDA Hospital serves 45 members, CMHH serves 25 family members, and TCH serves 25 family members. Since these can be large orders, you may need to place it at least 24 hours in advance. For an approximate catering cost per location, please refer to the Sponsor a Meal at RMH Houston table above.

 

What time should I have the food delivered?

We ask that food is dropped off at 11:45am for Lunch time and 5:45pm for dinner time. If you know there will be a delay, please call us to let us know. Lunch is served at 12:00pm, Dinner at 6:00pm and weekend breakfast at 10:00am.

What should I order?

It is truly your choice! Our families come from all over the world and enjoy a variety of cuisines. You can choose any restaurant, catering business or store you would like to support, or we can send a list of restaurant referrals. Although not required, please consider including a vegetarian or vegan option and/or a gluten-free option, when possible, to accommodate some of our guests’ dietary needs. For the hospitals, we ask that all meals be individually packaged (single serving, such as a boxed lunch).

I cannot afford to sponsor a whole meal. Can I donate a smaller amount?

We have a couple of great options so that you can help feed our families if you cannot sponsor a meal. You can help fill our pantry by donating individually packaged snacks for the families by shopping from our Amazon Wishlist. You can also donate an H-E-B e-gift to help purchase H-E-B simple meals for the families or donate online through our RMHH website by clicking the red donate link and add a note saying “JoyFULL Eats”.

Do I need to bring my own dishes, serving utensils, plates, kitchen tools, etc.?

The Houses provide kitchen equipment, and it is fully stocked with pots, pans, and small appliances. Please bring all necessary paper items (plates, cups, utensils, napkins) to serve the families. If you have a question about a specific item, please contact the House where you plan to volunteer.

Can my group get a tour of the House after we volunteer?

Groups are welcome to tour the Holcombe house, just let us know ahead of time so that we can plan accordingly.

Who should I contact if I have more questions?

If you have questions about JoyFULL Eats, our current guidelines, or your group’s participation that haven’t been answered above, please contact our RMHH JoyFULL Eats Food Operations Manager, Bettina Leuschen at JoyFULLEats@rmhhouston.org

To learn more about the JoyFULL Eats program, contact Bettina Leuschen, Food Operations Manager, at JoyFullEats@rmhhouston.org.