By Alexa Currier:
Assumption College Love Your Melon Crew spent a Friday evening in late April making dinner for families in need at the Boston Harbor Ronald McDonald House.
“Love Your Melon” is an apparel brand founded by two college students in Minnesota. The organization is dedicated to giving a hat to every child battling cancer in the United States. They also support nonprofit organizations who lead the fight against pediatric cancer. LYM is run by student ambassadors who are part of different college crews across the U.S. These crews volunteer with kids whose lives have been heavily impacted by pediatric cancer and other illnesses (https://www.loveyourmelon.com/).
Ronald McDonald House is one of the nonprofit partners that LYM works closely with. This organization is a home away from home for families of critically ill children. The Boston Harbor RMH allows the families of these children to stay close to their child who is receiving treatment in Boston (https://www.rmhbostonharbor.org/).
Crews all over the nation have volunteered at the RMH facilities to visit with children. Assumption College has been fortunate enough now to volunteer at two different facilities in Springfield and Boston Harbor.
For this event, Love Your Melon sent the AC Crew a $500.00 visa gift card to buy everything needed to prepare a large meal for the families staying at the Boston Harbor RMH. Myself and the Captain, Emily Simpson headed out on a Friday morning to Shaw’s Supermarket to buy all the materials necessary. We bought ingredients to make spaghetti and meatballs, baked mac and cheese, caesar salad, garlic bread, fruit salad and an assortment of desserts.
We also bought plenty of juice, paper products, and cleaning products just in case! At that point, we had made a large dent in the $500, but we had some left over and decided to make the evening a little more special. We headed over to CVS to buy some flowers, coloring books, painting supplies and chocolate. After buying all the supplies we went back to campus to grab the other LYM members coming with us.
We arrived at around 3:30 and began to prepare dinner. We each split up the tasks and chatted while cooking. We had the kitchen to ourselves before the families came home from the hospital. We talked and played around as a crew while cooking for a couple of hours.
For Emily and I, preparing for this event and cooking the food with the crew was incredibly bittersweet, because as seniors, it was our last event. For others, like sophomore Delaney Fenton, it was a bit of a cooking lesson! When asked about the event Delany shared that “as a college student, a home cooked meal is something I value, so being able to provide a meal for the families staying at the RMH; I knew it would be appreciated.” She even joked and said, “This event also taught me how to make garlic bread so it seems as though we all benefitted.”
This facility located in Boston Harbor was beautiful. It looked right over the water and had brand new appliances. It was clean, kid friendly, and great environment.
Families did not arrive until late except for one adorable Aunt and Niece duo. The little girl, named Olivia, who is just shy of 2 years old is staying at the RMH while her family is in and out of Boston Children’s Hospital. Olivia has such a lively personality, she loved to run around and cuddle up in your lap. After cooking for a couple of hours, interacting with this family was just what we needed to put everything in perspective.
I asked Sarah, from the Family Services team at Boston Harbor RMH what it means to the families when an outside organization comes in to help and she said “it means a lot to not have to worry. It’s one less thing they have to worry about. They are already going through a stressful time so when a group comes in and does the prepping, cooking, and cleaning for them, it’s one less thing they have to worry about at the end of the day during a stressful time. For the adults, it’s nice for them to talk to other adults about normal everyday things rather than conversation surrounding treatment. It’s a nice break for them to talk to someone besides doctors, nurses, and techs.”
Soon to be senior, Alyssa Masciarelli has been with Love Your Melon since her freshman year. She was recently voted as the next Crew Captain. The organization means the world to her and she attends every event. This event in particular has been the most rewarding to her. She talked about what we did that evening and said, “It was my last with you and Emily which was incredibly sentimental. We had so much fun cooking together and appreciating each other’s company. I think that is something we don’t usually get to do because we are so focused on the kids. Once Olivia came I think we all got so excited! She was such a ball of energy! I know I had some special moments with her when she grabbed the crayons and her whole face lit up and she looked right at me! I think she connected with others like that too and I could sense the relief the aunt had just being able to trust us to entertain her for even just a few minutes!”
Just being able to interact with the families, give them a smile and make their lives easier in the littlest way is rewarding in itself. This crew is full of passionate and dedicated individuals who I have been fortunate enough to attend events like this with. An evening like this is one we will never forget. We hope the families were able to enjoy the leftovers over the weekend and that we made their lives a little easier that day.