Winona State University students attempted to provide some relief to families at the Ronald McDonald House in Rochester, Minn. in the form of a Mexican feast in early November.

The university’s Student Organization of Alumni Relations (SOAR) club took the evening to travel to Rochester, Minn. to prepare a home cooked meal including a taco buffet, fruit, dessert and beverages for the families who are staying at the house.

The families who stay at the Ronald McDonald House have children who are receiving treatment from hospitals in Rochester. According to SOAR club member Sophie Schmitz, the house is a home away from home for the families whose children are going through some of the toughest times in their life.

“These children suffer from a wide variety of conditions, from premature babies to those battling cancer, each with their own unique story. Their days consist of many hours spent in the hospital, and some who are from across the country or world,” Schmitz said. “They rely on the RMH to provide a place to stay, basic necessities such as toilet paper, towels and food. In turn, the house relies on outside groups to provide meals for their residents.”

Schmitz added that the house accepts donations of food, blankets and toiletries from the community to sustain their mission.

The club ended up serving 30 to 40 people and packaged up the leftovers for other families at the house. The students also engaged in lighthearted conversation with the families to not only provide a good meal but great company as well.

“Families were very grateful and enjoyed hearing about Winona State and gaining an understanding of the work that SOAR does on campus,” Schmitz said.

Schmitz added that the club also toured the facilities at the Ronald McDonald House and learned more about its mission.

“One of the most incredible aspects of the RMH is how they run on community donations, from people all around the world,” Schmitz said. “Also, most staff at the RMH are volunteers who have dedicated up to 20 years of their lives to helping serve and care for these families during their difficult time. Overall, serving at the RMH was an incredible, eye-opening experience and SOAR hopes to continue serving there and inspire other organizations to serve as well.”

For more information, contact Sophie Schmitz at sschmitz13@winona.edu.

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Samantha Stetzer

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