Brontos Broke a Few Eggs at the Ronald McDonald House

Cathy Traugot

Cathy Traugot

We’re not going to name any names. We’re all about protecting the innocent, the not-so-innocent and everyone who has ever struggled with fractions.

We messed up the first double batch of chocolate-chip cookies at our volunteer event at the Ronald McDonald house in Durham on July 10. The sugar and butter got doubled. The flour? Nope. But hey, the Ronald McDonald house is all about making a difficult situation better. We scraped the baked buttery, sugary remains into a bowl and called it ice cream topping.

We were baking for the 55 families that call the house home while their children are receiving treatment at Duke Medical Center. Duke is the only hospital in the world that offers certain kinds of treatments for rare genetic disorders so the home is almost always filled to capacity, sometimes with families from as far away as Argentina and Canada. Along with housing parents and siblings, the most private wing of the house is home to children who need to be in comparative isolation near the hospital while they wait for their immune systems to come back after a bone marrow transplant.

The good news is that there were still plenty of treats baked on Monday. We did not mess up the boxed brownie mix. We brought in more butter and eggs and some idiot-proof refrigerated cookie dough. We had it covered.

And while our group was handling the baking, Brontos fanned across the community to other organizations as part of our quarterly volunteer week. Brontos worked at the Diaper Bank of North Carolina, the Food Bank of East and Central North Carolina and other locations to volunteer.

After we finished baking, Volunteer Manager Clay Ragan gave us a short tour and told us about the history of the house. It was the thirteenth Ronald McDonald House built and one of the first that wasn’t underwritten by an National Football League (NFL) team. While McDonald’s has always been a sponsor, it was NFL player Fred Hill, whose child was treated for leukemia, who came up with the idea to get NFL teams to help fund some of the first houses.

The Ronald McDonald House is a busy place. A shuttle whisks families to and from the hospital. A small classroom serves the children staying at the house. There is a sunny communal dining room, a game room, and a lobby with a fireplace where the therapy dogs visit with families. Families came in and out of the kitchen as we whipped up our baking disasters and successes. But in the end, we left dozens of bags of properly baked, delicious treats for the patients and their families.



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