Family Meal Program - Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How many people can volunteer?

A: 8 or fewer people

To avoid overcrowding in the kitchen, we ask that you limit the size of your group to 8 people or less. All volunteers must be 13 years of age or older in order to volunteer. Adequate supervision helps ensure a good volunteer experience for all. For youth groups, we recommend one adult for every four youth. If you have a large group, please consider scheduling multiple dates to volunteer so that everyone has an opportunity to contribute. Because many of the children staying at RMH have compromised immune systems, health standards are very important to us. You may not volunteer if you have been exposed to or have any symptoms of illness.

Q: How many people should we prepare food for?

A: Brunch & Lunch = 60 people / Dinner = 100 people

We are not able to calculate the exact number of children and adults in the House since our population changes daily. At Ronald McDonald House we love leftovers! In the two hours that food is out on our steam table about 60 people will eat. Since everyone's schedule is different, not everyone will be eating at the same time; many more families will access the kitchen and can reheat leftovers late into the night.

Q: Can food be prepared offsite?

A: All meals must be prepared in a controlled kitchen environment.

To ensure that our guests are receiving healthy meals, only food prepared at the Ronald McDonald House or at a licensed retail food establishment/commercial kitchen will be accepted as a food or meal donation. Therefore, casseroles, baked goods and other food items prepared in private homes will not be accepted.

Q: Are there any food restrictions?

A: No, you do not have to plan for any specialty dietary restrictions.

Parents will monitor their children and adjust for any special needs. We simply ask that you prepare a balanced meal with a main dish (including a non-pork option), side dish, vegetable and dessert. However, it is helpful to prepare some vegetarian options. You may want to consider labeling the foods you serve so families know the ingredients.

Q: What about themed meals and decorations?

A: Yes, creativity is welcome in our kitchens.

Themed meals such as Hawaiian Luaus, Soul Food, A Day at the Ballpark, and Breakfast for Dinner delight families! You are welcome to bring tablecloths, centerpieces or decorations for the tables, but due to the number of children with latex allergies, we cannot allow latex balloons or other latex products in the House. Currently our kitchen has 17 tables of the following dimensions: (1) 72” round table, (4) 42” round tables, (12) 36” x 36” square tables. Usually the square tables are pushed together to form longer rectangular tables.

Q: What supplies are available in the kitchen?

A: We have all the basic kitchen appliances, cookware & serving pieces. We have a large residential kitchen (not a commercial kitchen). Our kitchen has two work stations designated for volunteers with sinks, electric ranges, microwaves, and dishwashers. Our kitchen is stocked with basic cookware and cutlery as well as all the necessary serving dishes and utensils. We have a steam table to keep hot foods warm and a large counter space for buffet-style serving. A gas grill is located on the kitchen patio (available from May-October). We also have several electric griddles that are great for making breakfasts. The Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland is not responsible for any personal items that you may choose to bring with you into our kitchen.

Q: Do volunteers need to provide paper products?

A: No, but you are welcome to donate some for future use.

Meals at the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland are typically served buffet-style on disposable dinnerware. We always have a supply of disposable plates, bowls, napkins and flatware stocked near the buffet area. Insulated cups are located at the coffee counter. You do not need to provide paper products, however, if you would like to bring some to replenish our supply, we’d welcome your donation.

Q: Do volunteers need to provide beverages?

A: No, it is optional.

We always have free coffee, hot tea, and milk available for the families. A Coke vending machine supplies soda, juice, and bottled water for $0.50. You are welcome to bring beverages to go along with your meal if you wish. We have a large ice machine, and we usually have some powdered drink mixes and pitchers available as well.

Q: Do volunteers need to supply condiments?

A: No, but you are welcome to donate some for future use.

We always have standard condiments (salad dressing, ketchup, mayo, parmesan cheese, etc.) available. You do not need to bring condiments, however, if you would like to bring some to resupply our pantry, we’d be glad to accept your donation. Open condiments are located in the House Fridge, and we ask that volunteers use the open bottles first before opening fresh bottles.

Q: Are gloves and aprons required?

A: Yes, we ask that gloves are worn when working with food.

We have a supply of disposable vinyl gloves available in the kitchen. We ask that volunteers wash their hands thoroughly and wear gloves when preparing and serving food. We have a limited supply of cloth aprons available, if you’d like to borrow one while working in the kitchen, please ask at the front desk. Hairnets are not required.

Q: Where is the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland located?

A: 10415 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio

The Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland is located on the corner of Euclid Ave & East 105th in the University Circle neighborhood. The address is 10415 Euclid Avenue, but our driveway is off East 105th. Complete directions are available on our website -

Q: Is parking available onsite?

A: Yes, free parking is available. Volunteers may park in the spaces along the side and back of our House.

After entering our circle driveway, turn right immediately to access these parking spaces. To drop off items and unload, pull your vehicle up to our front circle, check in at the front desk and the volunteers on duty will get you a cart to help transport the food.

Q: What is your policy on taking photographs?

A: You are welcome to photograph your volunteer group in action, however, please respect the privacy of our families and do not include them in your photos.