As their classmates were sleeping in or using Thanksgiving break to get ahead on coursework, a group of Oklahoma City University students got up early Wednesday to make breakfast for people they'd never met.
Several members of OCU's Hispanic Student Association volunteered at the Oklahoma City Ronald McDonald House, frying bacon and eggs and making pancakes for the guests there.
This marked the third Thanksgiving the group has volunteered at the home.
Elena Ojeda, president of the organization, said the volunteers generally make standard breakfast fare, such as pancakes or French toast.
“We try to see what everybody knows how to make and go from there,” Ojeda said.
Ronald McDonald House provides lodging and meals for families who leave home to be with hospitalized children.
Ronald McDonald House also provides a family room with a kitchen, laundry facilities and other amenities in the Children's Hospital at OU Medical Center.
Ojeda, a senior, said the group began volunteering at the home three years ago. At the time, the president of the organization worked at the home and asked the group's members if they'd be willing to volunteer on the morning of Thanksgiving Day.
This year, the group moved the breakfast to the day before Thanksgiving. Generally, Ojeda said, any members of the organization who aren't leaving the Oklahoma City area for the holiday volunteer. Volunteers begin planning the menu a few weeks in advance. They buy the ingredients using money from the organization's budget.
Liz Ramirez, a sophomore, said the breakfast has become something of a tradition for the group.
The Hispanic Student Association and OCU place a strong emphasis on service and volunteering, she said.
Many of the group's members are also Clara Luper Scholars, a scholarship program that includes a service component, Ramirez said.
So, most of the students are involved in several volunteering events throughout the year.
“This is definitely one of our favorites,” she said.
Karina Lopez, a sophomore, said she didn't know much about Ronald McDonald House before she began volunteering with the organization. She said she's glad to have the opportunity to make a hot meal for families who are away from home during Thanksgiving.
Besides, Lopez said, she enjoys cooking.
“Making breakfast is always fun,” she said.
How to help
Ronald McDonald House Charities of Oklahoma City,
1301 NE 14 St.,
Oklahoma City, OK 73117-2018