Young Professionals Group Service Projects: Sunday, January 17 and Monday, January 18, 2016

On Sunday, January 17 and Monday, January 18, 2016, in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the British American Business Council of Greater Philadelphia Young Professionals Group hosted four service projects – a guest chef dinner, an evening art activity, breakfast buddies, and an attic clean-up – to benefit the Front & Erie and the Chestnut Street Philadelphia Ronald McDonald Houses (PRMH).

The original Ronald McDonald house was co-founded by Dr. Audrey Evans and the Philadelphia Eagles. Dr. Evans was working as a pediatric oncologist at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), and she saw the need for families to have a supportive place to stay while their children were in treatment.  Dr. Evans had a vision for a home away from home, similar to a YMCA.  At the same time, the Philadelphia Eagles were fundraising in support of player Fred Hill and his wife Fran’s daughter, Kim, who was battling childhood leukemia.  Co-Founder and then General Manager of the Philadelphia Eagles, Jimmy Murray, approached Dr. Lawrence Naiman at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children with proceeds raised by the Eagles.  However, Dr. Naiman directed Jimmy to Dr. Evans, stating that she had a greater need for the proceeds.  The first proceeds from the Eagles went towards creating two positive pressure rooms at CHOP, and then Dr. Evans told Jimmy of her vision for a house.  Jimmy approached Don Tuckerman and Stanley Elkman of Elkman Advertising and came up with an idea that a quarter from every McDonald’s Shamrock Shake sold in the Philadelphia region would go towards the purchase of a House located by Dr. Evans.  Ed Rensi, President of the McDonald’s Region, said yes to this proposal and agreed to provide funds from the sale of Shamrock Shakes if McDonald’s could name the House.  On October 15, 1974, the world’s first Ronald McDonald House was born and now serves as the model for over 350 houses in 38 countries.  Each house is independently managed and run.  The homes located throughout the world support families of seriously ill children by creating a community of comfort and hope.

PRMH offers families living outside of a 25 mile radius a safe and convenient place to reside while their children undergo lifesaving treatments at area hospitals including CHOP, Shriners and St. Christopher’s among several others. The PRMH environment enables families and children who are experiencing similar challenges to find support and care from one another.  The houses create a unique community living space for parents and children when they are most fragile.  PRMH offers food, support services, a place to sleep, new and gently used clothing, movie, reading and play rooms, and much, much more.  There is a suggested donation of $15 per night per family but no family is ever turned away due to their inability to pay.  PRMH serves approximately 3,000 families per year.  Sadly, because of limited space, PRMH turns away about the same number.  PRMH will very shortly be entering a new phase of development as they recently acquired the adjacent lot to the Chestnut Street property.  A major expansion is expected to create another 40 guest rooms.

Approximately 30 BABC members and friends were proud to partner with the PRMH in support of the families through various volunteer services in honor of Martin Luther King Day 2016. BABC Executive Director, Jane Rosenberg and her husband Ilan created dinner and breakfast menus, shopped for and delivered the food.  Jane organized four different teams of BABC volunteers that would prepare and serve the families staying at both homes.  They also purchased arts and crafts materials for an evening art project with the children and their families.  In addition, the group cleaned out and organized pantries, kitchen cabinet storage and attic space.

Guest Chef Dinner

On Sunday, January 17th, six volunteers, led by BABC Board and Club Level member Dennis DiMarco from Virgin Atlantic Airways, made a delicious warm meal for the families (approximately 40 people) staying at the Front & Erie House.  The menu included: a garden salad, orange and onion marinated chicken, orzo, steamed green beans, dinner rolls, as well as mini-cheese cakes, apple tarts and mixed seasonal fruit salad for dessert.  Each volunteer took charge of a different part of the dinner preparation.  The food was set out buffet style and volunteers served the families as they came through for dinner.  The Front & Erie House kitchen and dining room are attached to a bright, colorful playroom filled with imaginative play structures, dress-up clothes and books.  Volunteers served the families, helped them carry their plates of food to tables and spoke to the parents and children as they enjoyed their meal.

Evening Art Activity

Once dinner was arranged on the buffet, Jane and Ilan departed for the Chestnut Street House where they set-up the evening art activity and unloaded the breakfast food that would be served the next morning by the third group of BABC volunteers. The Chestnut Street House is approximately one third larger than the Front & Erie House.  The environment is bustling and energized.  There is a large book nook right off of the dining room and around the corner and down a ramp is a huge play area.  The oval arts and crafts table accommodates nearly 20 people.  Children and adults came by to decorate baseball caps with puffy paint; make friendship bracelets; and decorate canvases with acrylic paint.  Jane reported, “The most rewarding part of the evening was meeting and interacting with the families.  People wanted to be together and enjoy a fun activity, distracting them from the difficult issues they experience throughout the day.  Art and conversation helped pass the time and put smiles on their faces.”

Breakfast Buddies

On Monday morning, January 18th, BABC Young Professionals Group (YPG) Co-Leader and BABC Club Level member Patrick Reilly from Bartlett & Company arrived at the Chestnut Street House with a dozen volunteers.  Kitchen pantries, refrigerators, tables and chairs were cleaned and organized.  Volunteers unpacked the food we bought, stocked shelves, hard boiled eggs, baked brownies and made individual grab-and-go bags of healthy snacks for PRMH guests.  Chris Callanan, Nicole Ebaugh and Anthony Stover, all PRMH employees gave BABC helpers a very warm welcome, history of the house, and tour.

Attic Clean-up Project

Julien Franklin, BABC YPG Co-Leader and Club Level member from Aberdeen Asset Management led the attic organization and clean-up project at the Front & Erie House. Five volunteers took down the Holliday decorations; straightened-up the attic; sorted new and gently used clothing and neatly stored everything in bins according to age; organized the kitchen pantry; and sorted a walk-in donation of sheets, towels, toys, clothing and kitchen supplies.  The House Manager was extremely grateful for our help with these projects and was especially thrilled that the back part of the attic was organized and accessible.

The PRMH houses are truly remarkable places. They meet a critical need for families as they struggle to ensure their children receive lifesaving medical treatment.  The stress, anxiety and fear are unimaginable.  Volunteers, hardworking staff and donors, make the PRMH’s mission possible.  The BABC was honored to work with PRMH by offering two meals, leading an art activity and organizing various spaces.  Please click here to view pictures from the service projects and here if you wish to support the PRMH.

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The BABCPHL recognizes our Club Level Members:

  • Almac
  • American Airlines
  • Baker Tilly
  • Citrin Cooperman
  • Duane Morris
  • EisnerAmper LLP
  • Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP
  • Forensic Resolutions
  • Johnson, Kendall & Johnson, Inc.
  • Johnson Matthey
  • Morgan Lewis
  • Olympus
  • Penn Medicine