NHS volunteers cook for McDonald house

By Melanie Klein

Arizona Daily Wildcat

The National Honor Society club served tamales with all the trimmings to nine families staying at the Ronald McDonald House on Sept. 12.

The Ronald McDonald house functions as a home for out-of-town families staying when children are receiving medical care from any of Tucson's hospitals. The Tucson house is one of 163 international homes founded by the McDonald corporation.

Lisa Smith, the house manager for the past four years, said "It's nice when groups, like NHS, come in and cook for the families. It makes them feel people care about the situation they are in."

The Tucson house, located at 2230 East Speedway Boulevard, has been helping to provide for people like Anna Maria Soto for over 14 years. Soto said she had to fly to Tucson from Los Angles Sept. 4th, because her son was seriously injured in a bicycle accident while visiting friends in Nogales. Augustine Soto remained in a coma for twelve days and underwent two surgeries.

Soto expressed what a benefit it had been to be able to have different family members come down and help her through this trying time. She remarked "how nice and clean the house was and how comfortable everyone made her feel." Soto said she partook in the Mexican dinner prepared by the NHS members at the McDonald house.

Soto's son emerged from the coma Sept. 16 and was later moved to a rehabilitation center.

Elousia Vega was also on hand to partake in the family dinner. Her daughter, Yajaira Vega, was doing well and remains in Intensive Care Unit at University Medical Center after undergoing heart surgery. Vega was accompanied by her husband and sisters-in-law from Nogales, Sonora. Vega was thankful for the housing facilities because it allowed her English speaking sister-in-law to accompany her on the trip without causing a financial hardship on the family.

"The families staying at the house get the biggest support from the other family members who are going through strenuous times as well," Smith said. "That's what makes our house so important and special."

The financial support for the house mainly comes from donations within Tucson and Southern Arizona. The McDonald corporation initially starts the house and continues to support their fund-raising events. On a local level Zips Records and Tapes donates most of the movies to the house's video library. The AT&T phone company donates 1,500 minutes per month in long-distance calling for families to wrote how relieved she was to find Easter baskets outside her door for her children as well as for herself and for her husband. Smith related that many times parents have so much on their minds that holidays tend to be overlooked.

First year NHS member Dana Labarry, accounting freshman, said she "missed doing volunteer work because it makes her feel good." The NHS club has various philanthropic events planned for this fall.

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