25 Apr Ronald McDonald House Volunteer Spotlight: Tara Adimulam
1. Tell us something you’d like others to know about you.
We are a fun-loving adventurous family of 4. We love doing various things as a family. It helps us keep close-knit until the 2 small birds fly out of the nest. We spend time hiking, camping, and traveling whenever we get a chance (last summer we went on a road trip to the Oregon coast).
2. What is your usual volunteering job with Ronald McDonald House Charities of Idaho?
Preparing lunch meals for the residents of Ronald McDonald House. Doing various remote projects like making lunch notecards, goody bags for various occasions (like Christmas, Valentine’s Day, etc.), and wellness bags, mainly during COVID pandemic time.
3. How long have you been volunteering for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Idaho?
For the past 13 years.
4. How did you become a volunteer? And as a volunteer, what drew you to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Idaho?
Before my kids were born, my husband and I were volunteering once a month at the homeless shelter and old-age nursing home in Columbus, Ohio. In 2006 we moved to Boise, with my two-year-old son Parthiv. We wanted to continue our volunteering activities for people in need and involve my kids in volunteering as it helps us in spending quality time as a family and teaches kids to help the society in which we live. So, we did a search where even kids could be involved while the adults were helping. That’s when we found the Ronald McDonald House. After learning about its mission and activities, we wanted to be part of its mission. That is how our journey with Ronald McDonald House Charities started. We found out that families could cook for the residents there which made us excited. Cooking is therapeutic for me, and that is what exactly we used to do in Columbus for shelter. While I would prepare the meals with my husband, my son Parthiv would go and arrange the toys in the playroom or clean up the books, etc. As he and my younger child grew up, they started baking cookies regularly. We sign up for whichever slot is available either breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and cook a meal together for the families at the RMHC. Even during times of COVID, we were able to do remote projects since we could not enter the House. Kids made lunch notecards, kid’s blankets, wellness packets, goody bags, etc. Kids also brainstormed and came up with ideas of putting together s snack bag during the high temperatures of Boise by putting together frozen pops, water bottles, etc. They have also been continuously making goody bags for various occasions like Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Thanksgiving, etc.
5. What do you enjoy about being an RMHC of Idaho volunteer?
What I enjoy the most is you get to see the true appreciation that people have for what you do at the RMHC. You feel that what you are doing really does make a difference. With my kids volunteering from such young age at RMHC they enjoy every moment of putting in their time to help the families. They are always excited about putting some ideas together for every occasion. RMHC has helped instill volunteering in my kids from a young age. RMHC has helped them in giving back to their community and taught them that life is not always a smooth trail but there are families struggling. The House has helped them get a sense of reality and taught them to give back in whatever small ways they can.
6. In your time as an RMHC of Idaho volunteer, is there a meaningful moment or interaction you’ve carried with you?
There were several lovely interactions with the families staying at the House. It always made me feel so happy and overjoyed when the families would come and serve themselves the food while we were preparing the food. Many a time guests would come and thank us for cooking Indian cuisines. That gives us a great joy that we were able to bring something different to lighten up their lives. It gave all four of us so much joy to see them enjoying every morsel. It’s a tough journey while your child is receiving treatment and you are exhausted with all the stress. Having a hot meal after long hours at the hospital is like a pleasure. There were many times when the Volunteer Coordinator would send us an email because the residents had asked for the recipe. It made us realize what a simple action can mean to others. There was recently another interaction where the family had been already staying for 3 months and would be spending 2 more months. My son was baking cookies and she told us that previous occasion when he prepared them the cookies disappeared in a few minutes. So, my son was so overjoyed he made sure he made an extra batch of cookies so families would have enough of them. I as a mother was very happy, he understood the pain of the parents and immediately took the job on himself to prepare more cookies, so the families had enough.
7. What advice do you have for other volunteers (either current or onboarding) who are connected to RMHC of Idaho?
If you have not tried volunteering at RMHC please do, try. There are so many ways you can help as a family or an individual. There are also opportunities for job seekers to involve which will help you enhance your job skills. One thing I have learned is you will always end your shift with a feeling that you have helped many families who are going through a great deal of stress. Selfless service is the most gratifying thing in this world.