By Emily Green and Sarah Berendt

Today we started our day with a reflection where we washed each other’s hands of our struggles and our happiness, giving it to God. A great way to start out our week – acknowledging that we have both struggles and happiness. After we washed our hands we presented each other with a Tau cross and sent out to our work site agency for today.

Our work site agency was the Ronald McDonald House. The Ronald McDonald House is a home away from home for families whose seriously ill or injured children are being treated at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. The Ronald McDonald house here in Cincinnati is the third largest on in the world. It is a lot like a hotel – they have 78 rooms! Most of the time they are completely full and sadly turn away as many families as they help each year. It really is an amazing place!

We began with cooking brunch for the families; we each grabbed some sort of food and began working to create a delicious brunch that included pancakes, sausage and a fresh fruit salad. We served the family’s brunch throughout the morning and then we enjoyed the leftovers for lunch.

Lourdes students volunteer

After brunch we were given a tour of the facility. It is amazing what they do for the families, and everyone we came in contact with was so grateful for everything. Our time at the Ronald McDonald house ended with cleaning – they need to be very cautious around the children that are sick and the families who take care of them so cleaning is extremely important.

We split up into two groups and one group tackled the dining room/kitchen area while the other group closed the playroom and cleaned all the toys.  It really touched us being able to spend time with the families and children at the house and give what we could in this time of need for them. We were amazed how grateful the workers there were of us for doing such simple tasks for them. They loved every bit of our help. The volunteers clearly love their “job” and the children have a special place in their hearts.

 Lourdes students volunteering 

For our evening festivities we enjoyed a delicious spaghetti dinner in the company of a staff member from Franciscans for the Poor. Later on in the evening we were blessed to be visited by Tommy, a man willing to speak with us about his past experience with homelessness. We were very touched by his story and had the opportunity to ask him a wide variety of questions. His presentation really reached into the heart and may have been pretty eye opening to most. After his presentation we enjoyed some brownies and ice cream with him.

For reflection tonight we did a team building activity along with a discussion on how the day impacted us individually. Everyone seemed to really get a lot out of the day today.