Two teams of small chefs baked treats on Sunday for families who had taken up residence at the Ronald McDonald House of Long Island.
Sporting aprons and chef hats, Faith Gelford joined six other children to bake strawberry-white-chocolate and blueberry-orange mini muffins with Paula Gottlieb Herman, owner of LilChefs.com. Later, a second group of older kids whipped up chewy cherry bars and muffins.
“I’m cooking for everyone who is in the hospital,” said Faith, 6, of Oceanside.
This is the second year that Gottlieb Herman, 51, of Westbury, held a baking workshop during Presidents’ Day weekend at the Ronald McDonald House.
“Lil Chefs is just bringing another little bit of home into the lives of the families that are staying here,” said Matthew Campo, executive director of Ronald McDonald House of Long Island. “When families come back here to rest and relax, it’s great to have a treat.”
The Ronald McDonald House of Long Island hosts families while their children undergo treatment at nearby hospitals, including the Cohen Children’s Medical Center, which is located next door.
On Sunday, 27 families were staying at the 42-room facility.
Gottlieb Herman said that her parents introduced her to the concept of giving back at early age. She recalled Thanksgivings spent volunteering at soup kitchens.
“The families here, many of their kids are fighting for their lives, they are far away from home,” she said. “If we can give them a little smile today with what the kids created that means the world to us.”
While coloring a poster for the families, Tommy Sanders, 9, of Manhasset, said, “It’s nice to help.”
Joshua Ackerman, 8, of Plainview, added, “I think the families are going to be happy.”
Campo said the young cooks were the organization’s future.
“In 10, 20, 30 years, the kids that are here today are going to be donors to the house and going to be helping us continue to fulfill our mission,” he said. “Kids are very powerful. Sometimes they are underestimated.”
He added, “It’s important for us that the community comes out and supports us. While McDonald’s is a very important partner of ours … we do our own fundraising and we have to come up with our own budget every year in order to continue to operate the facility.”