Sugar Land and Katy's Ismaili Community Engaged in Responsible Volunteering (I-CERV) youth prepare meals in the community kitchen of Ronald McDonald Holcombe House.

This past President’s Day, Sugar Land and Katy I-CERV youth spent their day at the Ronald McDonald Holcombe House, Houston, which provides lodging for those families whose children are being treated at the Texas Medical Center.

This is their home away from home, filled with laundry facilities, indoor and outdoor play areas, accessibility to a Houston Independent School District teacher for the siblings of the patients being treated; providing the opportunity for them to further their education while staying close to their loved ones.

However, even with frequent donations, the organization is unable to accommodate 70 families adequately. So, opportunities are offered to organizations around the Houston area to use their facilities to make and serve lunch to residents. Southwest I-CERV’s day spent at the Ronald McDonald House was an experience that filled the hearts of every one of these volunteers.

Kiran Esani had the opportunity to help a little girl. “When she came to get some food, she was unable to pick up the plate by herself, so I took the food to her table,” says Kiran. She helped her sit down on the chair and made sure she had everything she needed. When she left, she waved at Kiran, who waved back. Adds Kiran, “Although a word was not spoken between us due to a language barrier, I was still able to help out a little girl. This shows that you don’t have to know a person to help them out; they could be a complete stranger who doesn't speak the same language that you do and you can still help them.”


Sugar Land and Katy I-CERV getting ready to serve lunch to the Ronald McDonald Holcombe families.
Sugar Land and Katy I-CERV getting ready to serve lunch to the Ronald McDonald Holcombe families.

Southwest I-CERV started off the day checking in and understanding the procedures and protocols of the facility, in order to ensure the safety and well-being of the patients and their families. Afterward, they relocated to one of the houses’ community kitchens, where they were given a tour of the resources available to them to make the lunch.

After the preliminary procedures, the volunteers split up into small groups to divide and conquer the jobs needed to assemble the meal. After all the vegetables were washed, sauces were made for marination and plates were ready for the wraps to be added, the volunteers came together to make the wraps in an assembly line.

Aside from the food provided to the residents, the event made an impact on the volunteers. “I-CERV to me is an outlet through which I can fulfill my need to serve and give back to the community. The experience has allowed me to understand our responsibility as the youth of our Jamat to do more, not only for school but for the betterment of the community outside of the four walls of our Jamatkhana,” remarked Shamel Sameer.