In the spirit of the holidays, many find themselves giving back to their community. It’s a little known fact that TradeWinds Island Resorts gives back in a very special and personal way all year. In 2010, a core group of warm-hearted TradeWinds staff members with the ‘spirit to serve’ started a monthly tradition of delivering and serving supper to the families staying at the Ronald McDonald House in downtown St. Petersburg, FL. The Ronald McDonald House, St. Pete East is the largest House with 34 bedrooms and provides a “home-away-from-home” for families with children receiving medical treatment from All Children’s Hospital. Families are asked to donate what they can towards their stay and it is completely voluntary.
Jeff Fredrickson, Director of Food & Beverage; Mark Martin, Assistant Director of Food & Beverage; Lori Christiano, Restaurant Manager at the Flying Bridge and Bob McCloud, Operations Controller have committed to visiting the first Thursday of every month for the past three years. Their monthly arrivals are often eagerly anticipated by volunteers and families who find themselves as long-term residents of the House. The TradeWinds group pride themselves on not only preparing and delivering a complete meal (this month’s meal consisted of a mixed greens salad, fruit salad, fresh dinner rolls, roast turkey, peppered steak, mashed potatoes, ratatouille and four different selections of pie), but also serving the families completely by delivering their plates directly to the table, pouring their drinks and preparing to-go boxes, if requested.
“We want them to feel taken care of during a time when eating is often the last thing on their minds,” explained Jeff Fredrickson. “One of my most memorable experiences here was a time when a gentleman came in for dinner after his child had just undergone a major throat surgery leading to an induced coma because the pain was so great. When I brought him his meal, he looked at me through teary eyes and said ‘I just want to thank you for giving me the first real meal that I’ve had in six days. It means so much.’ And THAT is why I do this. To most it’s just a meal, but to these families it means so much more.”
We encourage you to learn more about the Ronald McDonald House of Tampa Bay, or how you can help the Ronald McDonald Charities near you. Also, did you know the Ronald McDonald House collects and recycles pop tabs from aluminum cans to generate money for the benefit of their programs? Collecting and dropping off your pop tabs at your nearest Ronald McDonald House is an easy way to help! Start your own collection container with one of these labels.