Ten Des Plaines Firefighters and some of their spouses, in conjunction with Operation North Pole's "Meals from the Heart" program, recently traveled to the University of Chicago Comers Children's Hospital, where they prepared and served a traditional Thanksgiving meal for the families staying at the Ronald McDonald House. The meal for 40 included turkey, stuffing, cranberries, applesauce, sweet potatoes, salad, and homemade pumpkin and caramel apple pies. Entertainment included "Mystopher," the Magician and balloon creations. In addition to food contributions from Des Plaines Firefighters Union Local 4211 and firefighter families, West of Edens Restaurant in Skokie graciously donated four fully-cooked turkeys.
Firefighter/Paramedic Brian Hoffman, who organized the meal in conjunction with Operation North Pole staff, stated, "This trip to Ronald McDonald house was a great success. Dinner was amazing. These families are dealing with some very serious health issues, and we were thrilled to be able to provide them with a home-cooked meal and share it with them after a long day of treatments and medical tests. It was a very gratifying experience, and we look forward to making another trip to serve dinner again soon."
The Ronald McDonald House at Comers Children's Hospital provides short- and long-term housing for up to 22 families. Families of children receiving treatment at University of Chicago Comers Children's Hospital are eligible to stay at the facility regardless of income. For more information visit http://rmhccni.org/rmh-near-university-of-chicago-comer-childrens-hospital/.
Operation North Pole is a non-profit Des Plaines charity whose mission is to provide one day of fun and fantasy during the holiday season for Chicago area families who are battling the emotional, as well as the financial, stresses of dealing with a life-threatening or terminal illness of one or more of their children. The fantasy day includes a "Polar Express" train ride to the "North Pole," where families can spend time in a Winter Wonderland with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Serving "Meals from the Heart" at the Chicago-area Ronald McDonald Houses is a separate community outreach activity for the organization and its supporters. Information on Operation North Pole and the "Meals from the Heart" program may be found at www.operationnorthpole.org.