A Charlottesville restaurant is stepping up to provide meals for families at the Ronald McDonald House. Cici's Pizza is calling on other businesses to donate food as the families are transitioning to a big move.
The Ronald McDonald House serves as a temporary home-away-from-home for families of sick children being treated in Charlottesville. This week, the group moved to a new location that's making it difficult to prepare meals.
For the 10 families currently staying at the Charlottesville Ronald McDonald House, adjusting to a new space comes with its challenges.
"It would be very difficult to prepare a meal for all of our families. It allows us to reheat basically and we can certainly keep things cool. In terms of what the families have access to, it's essentially a microwave," said Rita Ralston, executive director of the Ronald McDonald House of Charlottesville.
The group is operating out of the University of Virginia's Courtenay dorm while the house is getting renovated.
"We've come to the dorm, which is a marvelous facility, but we have very limited cooking options," Ralston said.
After hearing about the conditions, Cici's Pizza is taking charge to cook up some meals - and hopes other restaurants can also lend a helping hand.
"We decided we'd kind of spearhead this invite to other restaurants to feed these families, get that schedule filled," said Kim Ryan, marketing and event coordinator for Cici's.
It's an effort to get Charlottesville businesses to come together and support families in need.
"When we hear about things like this, we as a community have to step up, and it takes one restaurant or one person to say ‘hey, let's do this, and we'll see that others will follow,'" Ryan said.
Organizers hope they can relieve some of the moving stress, one meal at a time.
"So they can focus on their child, we want them to be able to come back to the house and have a meal provided for them, to sit and relax and talk to other families, so that whole eating experience is very, very important," Ralston said.
The Ronald McDonald House expects renovations to wrap up around February of next year.