White Hats travels to Ronald McDonald House


Photo provided

White Hats members work in groups to prepare the meal for families staying in the Ronald McDonald House of Charities.

Ellie Rann, Staff Writer

White Hats members traveled to the  St. Louis Ronald McDonald House April 21 to provide meals for the families who are staying there. The mission of Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) is to provide a supportive place for families to stay while their child is receiving medical care

For several years, White Hats members have participated in serving the RMHC. Sponsor Elizabeth Dawe has enjoyed this tradition for the past 20 years and hopes to continue doing it for years to come. 

“I was invited by Dr. (Pam) Bramlet, who was the English department chairperson at the time, to sponsor White Hats. I really wanted to be more involved with students while also helping serve the community, so I took this as a great opportunity,” Dawe said.  

The idea for the tradition began with  Bramlet, but Dawe put the plan into action when she began sponsoring the club. 

“Dr. Bramlet had stayed at the RMHC with her family and while she was there, had heard about the meals from the heart,” Dawe said.  “She thought this would be a great service project for the club, so we asked around the school and were surprised to find that a lot of students knew of the house. Even though it was far away, we found that there were many people who knew someone or had stayed there, and that’s how it started.”

Dawe and the White Hats wanted to serve a meal as fresh as possible for the families staying at the RMHC. They decided to go grocery shopping on their trip for the food items they needed. 

“We’ve always tried to do fresh fruits and vegetables because these are very limited to those staying in the hospital long term,” Dawe said. “This year we did an Italian theme with lasagna, a garden salad, fruit salad, and garlic bread. We separated all of the members into teams to do different jobs for making the meal. While working together, we were able to serve fifty people.”

One of the club members, senior Halleye Pate, was able to attend the trip and was thankful for the opportunity she was given to help serve. 

“What I loved most about the trip was knowing that we were helping families that were going through some hard times and making sure they had easy access to food if needed,” Pate said.

Pate has been a member of the White Hats for three years. She decided to join the club because she wanted to be more involved with the community. She hopes in the years to come there are more opportunities like this to help provide for those in need.

“We do a lot of different activities in the club, but I wish there were more I could’ve been a part of,” Pate said. 

White Hats members have enjoyed being a part of a group that is focused on helping others. Pate agrees this is a great way to bond with those in the school while also helping others. 

“My word of advice to all of the incoming White Hat members would be to stay active in the club,” Pate said. “You will meet so many new people and friends through White Hats. It feels so good knowing that you are reaching out and devoting time and effort to better our community and surrounding communities.”

Along with Pate, Dawe believes that being a member of the club has great benefits and can help students find great reward in their work.

“Our hope is to continue participating in this event. It really has a great impact on students. One, the work ethic, but two, also being able to meet those people. I feel that making relationships with the people staying there is just as important as the meal we are providing,” Dawe said. 

Hopefully for members of the White Hats club, or incoming members, serving the RMHC will be something to look forward to. Dawe hopes to continue this tradition for many more years giving students a memorable experience to last a lifetime.

“In the future if you get the chance to serve at the RMHC, take it! It was truly a great experience and you will feel good making a difference,” Pate said.