Every year, the Vancouver Cassels summer students get to organize a charity event of our choice, funded by Cassels! For the past few years, students have chosen to do a Family Meal Night for Ronald McDonald House. This is one of the many charities which Cassels supports, and the firm sponsors the event by funding all of the food, as well as our time organizing and participating.
the volunteer team pre-dinner
Ronald McDonald House is a non-profit organization which provides accommodation for seriously ill children, and their families, who must travel to Vancouver to access medical care at BC Children’s Hospital. BC Children’s is the primary children’s hospital for all of BC and the Yukon, meaning that many ill children and their families find themselves in Vancouver without warning, without plans and without a place to stay. Ronald McDonald House serves 2,000 families each year in spacious suites with private washrooms, as well as a variety of expanded services in the house like arts and crafts studios, music therapy, fitness studieos, a LEGO lounge, and shared common spaces where families can come together for company and support. Not to mention, they have a super cool, adult and child friendly slide which you can use to get from the 2nd floor to the first!!
As volunteers, we got to tour the facilities, which were beautiful, modern, and incredibly thoughtful. Everything was built with an eye to making life easier, better, and more comfortable for the families living there, with touches like a fitness room with a glass wall looking out onto the play room – so busy parents can exercise while watching their kids play. Out of all of the cool facilities, I think the magic room was my favorite – a high tech room which allows users to be transported into the enchanted forest home of Woody the Beaver. It was truly heartwarming to see all of the hard work and dedication which the staff and volunteers put in to making families feel supported and at home during what must be such a difficult time in their lives. Watching kids using the main common area off the entrance hall as a huge race track for their hot wheels cars before dinner was probably almost my favorite part of the night!
As student organizers, we have been prepping for this event since late June, booking the meal night, planning the menu, collecting volunteers from the firm, and, day-of, doing all of the shopping and food delivery. Forrest, Grace and I spent the morning doing a Costco and Superstore shop, which was a super fun student field trip in and of itself!
we needed 1 shopping cart just for buns and cookies!
Prince Leia à l’ onion
on our way to deliver the food!
It was not hard to make it a huge success with the support of the Cassels team – our maximum 15 person volunteer team was filled within two days of the request email being sent to the firm! After some nominal, and likely unnecessary, delegation on our part, the Cassels volunteers jumped into action in three teams – the Grill Masters, the Top Chefs, and the Plating Masters. Everyone put their heart into making sure that a delicious barbecue meal was ready in time for the estimated 100 parents and children who showed up with eager appetites. Watching the huge smiles of kids as they chatted with the serving team and collected their burgers made every moment of preparation more than worthwhile.
We finished the day with full stomachs and full hearts. Thanks Uncle Cassels for sponsoring this great event!