Volunteer Spotlight: The Inskeeps

Ronald McDonald House Volunteer Spotlight: The Inskeeps

Beth: First of all, I was wondering how long you’ve been volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House?
Kristan: We started in February of 2023.

Beth:  How did you find out about volunteering? And get involved?
Kristan: Well, I volunteered about six years ago, my younger sister passed away. And so every year on her birthday, we tried to find a charity to do in her honor. She was a nurse at St. Luke’s, so my elder sister and I chose the Ronald McDonald House one year in honor of her birthday. After I did it that one time, I just enjoyed it so much! I recently retired, so was looking for things to do and volunteer opportunities, and I thought about the Ronald McDonald House. So that’s why I started volunteering again in February, and go about once a week.

Beth: Do you usually make a meal or do you like to bake?
Kristan: Yeah, I tried baking just one time. And then I was talking with the volunteer that was making lunch and she made it sound so much fun. So then I started making lunch, and I enjoyed that more than baking. I was doing it on my own for a while, but then my husband also retired and so I started bringing him and we both enjoyed it so much that we started doing it together.

Beth: Oh, that’s really special. You mentioned that you would volunteer at different organizations in honor of your sister.
Kristan: Yes, every year on her birthday, we would choose something to do. We did the Sporting Clays event once with the Ronald McDonald House. And then we’ve just done various things once a year for her birthday, just in honor of her. But now that I’m volunteering on a regular basis, I’m doing it for myself.

It sounds like you have volunteered with several different places. Why did you pick the Ronald McDonald House to come weekly and volunteer?
Kristan: Well, I just feel like it’s a great organization. I feel like it really makes a difference! My in-laws spent a few months in a hospital, and while they were tthere, we were stuck in Phoenix over the winter. And so it really brought home to me how important these things are when you’re stuck at a hospital and you don’t have your home. Because we just had to live in a hotel for four months. And so I think what the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Idaho is doing for families is very important, and it’s very necessary. It makes me feel good that I can help these people in their time of need!

Beth: Thank you for doing that and for sharing. What is your favorite part of volunteering? Do you enjoy making lunches?
Kristan: Yeah, it’s been fun to think of menus and think of what I can use that’s in the pantry and come up with new recipes and new ideas. I’m not a great cook, at least I don’t consider myself a gourmet chef. But my husband and I, we try a little taste of everything that we make and everything’s been turning out great, and the feedback has been good. The other place we volunteer to go is the Boise Rescue Mission, we serve lunch. I’ve kind of been watching what the chefs make there, and sometimes I’ll try to recreate it or do a variation of it. So it’s been kind of fun to do both of those volunteering.

Beth: Oh, that is fun that you’re kind of doing similar things in different organizations. It sounds like, even if you maybe don’t profess to be a great cook, it sounds like you spend a lot of time around food. What do you enjoy doing outside of volunteering?
Kristan: We’ve just recently retired, so we’ve been traveling a lot to see our kids and our grandkids and also doing some camping. We have two grown children and four grandchildren. We recently purchased mountain bikes, so we’ve been doing some mountain biking and hiking, that kind of thing. We’re definitely staying busy. We’re happily retired haha! 

Beth: Well, that’s wonderful. It’s great that you’re getting out and doing things. Do you have a favorite place to go camping?
Kristan: Oh, we like Stanley. That’s been our favorite.

Beth: One of my last questions to ask you would be, would you encourage other people to get involved with volunteering here?
Kristan: Absolutely, there’s a lot of different things you can do. It’s been fun for me to watch the other volunteers, they bring in groups of people that are disabled, and they have been able to help them cook, and I just think that’s so neat. It’s such a great opportunity for both the volunteers and the people receiving the food. But if cooking isn’t your thing, there’s cleaning. And there’s lots and lots of other things you could do with the Ronald McDonald House.

And I have to say that the website is so easy to use, I love being able to just sign up online. I can go out and pick the days and times I’m available and I can sign up for whatever I want to do. And if something comes up and I need to cancel, I can just cancel online. It makes it easy as a volunteer to be able to manage my own time.

Beth: Yeah, that’s a really great benefit. Thank you for sharing about that, because I think a lot of people don’t know how easy it is to get connected and sign up.
Kristan: Yes, of course. And I really like having all the options, the food options in the freezer and in the pantry, that’s been great. When I first started doing it, I would bring my own meat and my own vegetables and things. But then I got familiar with what’s available on site, so now a lot of times I don’t bring anything, or maybe I’ll bring some fresh things. If I need fresh onions or fresh vegetables, I’ll bring those but other than that I just use everything onsite, which is very helpful.

Beth: Do you ever make the food at home and then try it again?
Kristan: I haven’t done that yet. Sometimes I’m taking a bit of a risk because I’m thinking “I’ve made you know, 30 servings of this. I sure hope it tastes good.” But I will always test a little bit of it, and it’s always been good. The other thing I’ve learned how to do is make biscuits out of pancake mix, I never knew you could do that. But I just researched it because I kept thinking there’s so much pancake mix there. We’ve got to be able to use it for breads and biscuits and there’s recipes out there. And so I did that and they turned out great!

Beth: Oh, that’s interesting.
Kristan: So it has been a real learning experience I have to say.

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