AmeriHealth New Jersey has held a longstanding relationship with the Ronald McDonald House (RMH), a non-profit that provides hope, help and home for families of seriously ill children. In addition to lodging, home-cooked meals are provided to the families daily.
For a number of years AmeriHealth New Jersey associates have personally served dinner to familes staying at the RMH in Camden the fourth Thursday of each month. In 2019, a new leader was needed to help plan, cook and deliver meals. AmeriHealth New Jersey colleagues Jaimie Einsbruch and Mary McLean-Yabor joined forces to continue this heartfelt tradition. Together they began organizing the visits for all AmeriHealth New Jersey volunteers.
“We had both volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House previously and were so inspired by the work the organization does for families,” said Mary. “It was a natural transition for us to assume responsibilities as the site leaders, which we both truly enjoy.
“The families staying at the Ronald McDonald House are going through so much, and on top of that they are away from home,” said Jaimie. “Knowing we can bring them a smile, cheer or laughter through a meal is very rewarding.”
Some of the duo’s favorite meals to prepare include chicken and beef tacos, chicken pot pie and lasanga.
Cooking is only half of it. Making connections with the families has profoundly impacted both women.
“Visiting with the families is very humbling,” said Mary. “When you see the same faces each month you realize the burden an illness puts on the entire family. It breaks your heart, but going back each month is an easy way for us to show these families they are not forgotten and that we are rooting for them.”
“My experience volunteering at Ronald McDonald House helps keep me grounded,” said Jaimie. “I feel blessed to be in a position where I can help those in need. That’s what a good neighbor does.”
An unwavering commitment
In March 2020, those visits had to come to a halt due to the pandemic, but Mary and Jaimie’s commitment did not waver. Together they devised a plan to alternate monthly who would cook and deliver meals. Wearing masks and adhering to social distance guidelines the women dropped off their culinary creations outside.
“Not being able to go inside was definitely hard,” said Jaimie. “We’ve built strong connections with the staff and families, and with each other. I look forward to the day when we can see each other in person again.”
“We never imagined we’d be making deliveries under these circumstances, but we’re grateful to still be able to play a part in bringing some comfort to the families through our cooking,” said Mary.
A company rooted in service
In September 2020, AmeriHealth New Jersey was recognized as a Company that Cares by the Commerce and Industry Association for its ongoing work with Ronald McDonald House.
“One of the things I’m really proud of is that at AmeriHealth New Jersey volunteering is not what we do – it’s who we are,” shared Mary. “If you’re interested in volunteering, I highly encourage you to do so. The impact you will have will outlast the effort it takes, and the experience will leave you feeling uplifted and rewarded.