VOLUNTEER

Volunteers are the backbone of our organization. We have many volunteer opportunities to suit your schedule and preferences, whether serving as a House Volunteer, a Teen Volunteer, working with our Meal Program or volunteering at a special event. Be sure to check out our featured volunteer profiles below! We also have many opportunities for groups to do projects; please contact the Houses directly for a list of available projects.

Tampa House – located on Davis Islands – contact Maggie Somerville at (813) 254-2398, ext. 317
St. Pete East, West & Central Houses near ACH – contact Lise Fields at (727) 767-8166.


House Volunteers

Trained volunteers are an integral part of the Ronald McDonald House program. Volunteers are needed on an ongoing basis every day of the week for these shifts:

Volunteers register and check-out families, answer telephones, give House tours and assist in the day-to-day operation of the House by helping where needed.

Volunteers must have the ability to relate to children and adults. A primary quality is the ability to be a good, understanding listener as parents may need to share the burden of their child’s hospitalization. Good telephone and organizational skills are important. We have a great need for volunteers who speak Spanish.

Volunteers must have their own transportation. Adult singles or couples are welcome. Volunteers are needed for arts & crafts, house decorating and those with special skills such as hair styling or massage therapy.

Check out the volunteer spotlight on MOR-TV!


Time Commitment

A minimum of two four-hour shifts per month is requested as outlined above. Orientation is held monthly.


Teen Volunteers & Kids Activities

The St. Petersburg houses are designated Service Learning sites. High school students work alongside staff restocking pantries, storing donations, and performing light housekeeping and light yard work. They also facilitate children’s activities and make treats in our kitchens for the families.

Teens must be at least 15 years old.

The summer program begins shortly after school lets out for the summer and continues as the teen’s schedule allows during the school year.

The application process begins in March with a tour for the parents and teen. The application can be completed and guidelines signed at that time. Bright Futures scholarship applications need to be signed off by staff and the school counselor before beginning the program.

After an orientation, teens schedule a 3-hour shift from 9am-12pm or 1pm-4pm (weekdays only).

The Teen Cuisine program offers service hours for providing a home-style meal for the West House families.

Contact Lise Fields in St. Pete by email or call 727-767-8166.

For Tampa, email Maggie Somerville or call 813-254-2398, ext. 317.

For teens under age 15 or for additional ways you can help, here is an Activity List.

Teen Volunteer Application

St. Pete Student Guidelines

Tampa Student Guidelines


Volunteer Of The Month

We could not run our Ronald McDonald Houses without the loving care provided by our loyal house shift volunteers. In 2015 we are choosing one volunteer from amongst our four houses who has provided exceptional service and gone above and beyond. Thank you to these amazing volunteers!

February- Dan Lee

Dan Lee has been a St. Pete East House volunteer since April 2012 and has logged in almost 1,180 hours.  Dan is a front desk volunteer two mornings weekly, but his input and influence go way beyond those front desk shifts. As a St. Petersburg House Operations member, Dan has served as Treasurer for the past four years and helps set goals, raise money and organize the committee spreadsheets. While our house was undergoing renovations, Dan was instrumental in selling many items on eBay to help raise money for RMH.  Additionally, he served on the initial Volunteer Assessment Program Committee and helped implement the on-line Volunteer Center in 2014 and follow-up Volunteer Survey in 2015.  Dan is also our go-to on a plethora of technology questions and works closely with Sue, our IT Specialist, on many computer issues. On any given Monday or Friday morning, Dan can be seen tutoring a fellow volunteer or staff member on the inner workings of their iPad or smartphone!

In short, Dan is an invaluable volunteer.  No job is too difficult, he’s great at interacting with our families, gives an outstanding East House tour to visitors and supports all RMHCTB events.

Congratulations to Dan Lee –February’s Volunteer of the Month!

Melissa Ramirez has been a shift volunteer at the Tampa Ronald McDonald House since February 2016.  She first became involved with us through her sorority, Alpha Delta Pi. Melissa loved volunteering so much that she decided to continue volunteering after graduating from the University of South Florida with a Master’s Degree in Medical Sciences. Although she is currently interviewing for medical school, she spends most of her days at a research lab where ketones are used to prevent progression of neurodegenerative diseases like ALS, and at night works at the BrassTap serving up refreshing drinks. Melissa likes to run and is training for her first half marathon along with other obstacle course based races. Even with a busy schedule, Melissa gladly makes time for the Ronald McDonald House because she enjoys giving back and making a difference in her community. She loves to keep busy and counts our 7 dwarfs as her close personal friends…she is our Snow White.

December - Kit Crowner

Central House volunteer Kit Crowner is our December Volunteer of the Month. Kit has volunteered her time since June 2013, amassing over 250 hours by rarely missing her bi-weekly Friday shift. Kit is incredibly dependable and does not let anything fluster her. She is wonderful with our families and has a great sense for when families need to share, especially helpful to parents of critically children.

November - Ginny & Walt Hall

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Even though Ginny and Walt Hall are officially based at the East House, their volunteer work goes well beyond the East House walls!  As our weekly Pizza Hut pick-up volunteer, Walt ensures that families at all three St. Pete houses have plenty of delicious pizza for lunch.  He has logged over 300 hours as a volunteer since 2011.  Ginny, an East House volunteer since 2003, has been active in many areas while amassing 1670 hours!

Ginny is a member of the St. Pete House Ops Committee and has regularly organized the JHACH Social Workers annual luncheon where her creativity and panache have been admired by all!  A regular Tuesday afternoon volunteer at the East House, Ginny’s knowledge of the House and her ability to calmly interact with the families adds such a calm and competent element to our day.   With the inception of the Learning Lab @ RMH, Ginny signed on as a teacher/tutor for RMH families at all three St Pete houses.  A retired Kindergarten teacher, it’s been a perfect fit for Ginny who has wholeheartedly embraced the program.  When asked about the LL program, Ginny noted that she learns as much from the RMH children as they learn from her.  RMH Charities is proud to honor Ginny and Walt as November Volunteers of the Month for their dedication and loyalty to the mission of RMH.

October- Denise Schwarz

The St. Pete East House is happy to announce Denise Schwarz as our Volunteer of the Month for October 2016.  Denise has been volunteering at the East House since April of 2011 and has logged 500 denise-schwarzhours. Since she’s a seasonal volunteer, that’s a ton of time spent at the House in her “off-season”!  When Denise is not in Treasure Island or the East House, she spends six months sailing in the Caribbean.

During her shifts at the East House, Denise primarily works at the front desk where she can be found greeting families, helping staff or preparing lunch for our families.  Every task that she completes is done with a ready smile and a “can-do” positive attitude!  The East House is always a bit more of a happy place when Denise is around.   Congratulations and many thanks to Denise!

October - Denise Schwarz

Mia Otterstad is a Shift Volunteer, giving many selfless hours of service helping to take care of the Tampa Ronald McDonald House and its residents. She helps keep the House clean and inviting for families to return to after a long day at the hospital.  Mia also loves to bake and families have been the lucky recipients of some of her delicious Danish creations.  She not only takes a regular volunteer shift two times a month but also fills in on vacant shifts whenever she and her family are not traveling around the United States.  Mia came to our RMH after being transferred to Tampa from Copenhagen, Denmark.   Mia’s husband Mikkel is a Commander in the Danish Military, working at the Liaison Office for Denmark, as part of the coalition forces working with USCENTCOM at MacDill Air Force Base.  The Otterstad’s have 17 year old twins, Olin and Jonathan that will soon be juniors at Plant High School.  They all love to travel and whenever they have spare time they are taking advantage of their time here by seeing as much of the U.S. as possible.  However, sometimes that can prove to be difficult with back to back visitors arriving all the time from Europe.  Even with all the visitors and travels, Mia makes sure she has time for volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House.  In fact, after Mikkel’s tour of duty is over here in Tampa, Mia plans to take her volunteer experience back to Denmark and volunteer at the RMH in Copenhagen.  What a great way to “pay it forward” around the globe.  Thank you, Mia!

September- Mia Otterstad

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Tampa Bay holds a special place in Ellen’s heart.  Her father, Dr. Samuel Gross, was a pioneering pediatric hematologist and oncologist who founded the Ronald McDonald House in Cleveland, Ohio in 1979.   Her dad’s lifelong devotion and commitment to curing those afflicted with life threatening diseases while also importantly, ensuring that their loved ones had a ‘home away from home’ while treatment was being provided, forever remains her inspiration. Ellen’s first initiative began at the age of 12 when she and her best friend launched a neighborhood fundraising carnival to benefit Cleveland’s future Ronald McDonald House. Years later, now living in Tampa, Florida, her passion remains strong and has been further enriched having seen and experienced firsthand the incredible network of dedicated employees and volunteers working for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Tampa Bay.  Ellen joined us as a special event volunteer on the Storybook Ball Auction Committee, and she was a force to be reckoned with, bringing in over $8,000 worth of items for the auction, while also bringing a new table sponsor to the event. Ellen hopes to remain involved with RMHC’s most important mission to ensure that families are consistently provided the opportunity to remain united in a nurturing, home-like environment while receiving essential services and support as they journey together through challenging and difficult times.

July- Chris Spoor

Chris Spoor has been a dedicated volunteer at the West House for 9 years, logging in 860 hours to date. Chris is wonderful with the families and is a calming presence in their hectic day. She’s so helpful around the house and handles the entire kitchen and miscellaneous projects that crop up. We are honored to recognize Chris as Volunteer of the Month for July!

June - Chris Perera

Chris has been a loyal RMH East volunteer since October 2008 and has currently has amassed over 2,170 hours.  Every Thursday morning, Chris can be found at the East House front desk, greeting family members, helping staff, answering the phone, accepting donations and generally doing anything that needs to be done. Originally from Buffalo, NY, Chris met her husband Raúl in Ft. Lauderdale and they came to the Tampa Bay area following a job opportunity for Raúl. In addition to volunteering at the East House, Chris also volunteers at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, where she often interacts with RMH families which allows for a wonderful bridge between the organizations for both Chris and the families.  Chris enjoys being at RMH because, “It makes me feel good to be here for our families”.  For our part, we couldn’t imagine a Thursday morning at RMH East without Chris Perera!

May- Katie Oswell

Katie Oswell began as a Shift Volunteer at Tampa RMH in late October, 2015.  In five short months Katie has accumulated over 100 plus hours of service.  Katie consistently goes to the Volunteer Information Center and picks up extra shifts besides attending her own regularly scheduled shifts.  She has a beautiful smile and a warm personality that puts families at ease after a stressful day with their child sick in the hospital. Katie is an excellent RMH ambassador, fully versed in our history in order to give tours to visitors.

In 2012 Katie moved to Tampa and attended USF for a degree in Health Sciences.  She is currently employed by BSN Medical as a Medical Sales Representative.  As a member of USF’s Chapter of ADPi Sorority Katie visited RMH on several occasions to make dinners and decided to become more involved as a house volunteer. Her most recent hobby is visiting various Florida State Parks with her dog, Cheddar Biscuit, a King Charles Spaniel.

April- Christina Strickland

Christina StricklandChristina Strickland has volunteered at RMH Central for almost 4 years where she has provided over 250 hours of service. Over the years Christina has had a tremendous impact on Central House – she always has a smile or friendly word for our families, but she does not stop at emotional support, she also brings in ingredients to prepare a meal for our families. Without a full kitchen, providing meals at RMH Central can be a challenge. Christina has stepped up to the challenge by creating wonderful crockpot meals on her shift for which she has become famous. Christina is a genuinely unselfish person. She goes the extra mile and donates her time to take part in our House Operations committee where she represents Central House. Outside of RMH, Christina is an advocate for Guardian Ad Litem and takes care of her grandkids on the weekends. Christina is a volunteer that is always willing to take on any task, big or small, and for that we are so grateful!

March - Terry Bowersox

The East House learned first-hand how valuable Terry is to our day-to-day operations when an expected delay from a vacation forced her to stop volunteering for over two months! As soon as she could, Terry was back on duty. Terry began volunteering in July 2014 and to date, has given over 400 hours of her time. Her duties include answering phones at the front desk, checking in/out families, preparing meals, giving tours and basically helping staff and families in any way needed! She regularly volunteers to fill open spots in the schedule, and will fill-in at a moment’s notice. Volunteers like Terry help make RMH East truly a home-away-from-home!

February- Laurie Zugay & Bill Hallar

Laurie and Bill have volunteered as Housewarmers in the St. Pete East House kitchen every Thursday night since March 2015, amassing over 80 hours of service. As Housewarmers they greet dinner groups and familiarize them to the kitchen as they prepare meals for our families. Their easy, gentle manner helps put everyone at ease; they answer questions, help prepare food, locate essential items and, most importantly, join families and groups for dinner to engage in conversation. Laurie has also put in countless hours assisting with the East House renovations. Many of the lovely elements in the house are the direct result of her keen eye for design and ability to envision the best layout. Laurie and Bill are also special event volunteers who enjoy helping us out at our core fundraisers. What a great team!

January- Chris Kim

Chris Kim is an engineer in the Marine Corp and is currently on temporary duty at the U.S. Central Command Center on MacDill Air Force Base. He operates as a Ground Watch Officer monitoring military operations in the Middle East. Chris was originally trained in Quantico, Virginia and has been deployed five times in Iraq and Afghanistan. Chris and his family (wife, Grace and daughters Charlie, 5 years and Emma, 19 months) reside in San Diego, California. Grace and the girls are remaining in California while Chris is on duty here until late February.  Since Chris’s job has him keeping odd hours and his family is not nearby, he chose to volunteer in the community to keep busy while he is stationed here in Tampa. Chris searched “volunteering in Tampa” and (lucky for us) found the Ronald McDonald House. Chris has also used our Volunteer Information Center site to sign up for his various shifts. He has really enjoyed this process which has allowed him to meet many different volunteers on a variety of shifts while learning about the Tampa Bay community. His hobbies are running and surfing but since there is no surf in Tampa he has picked up fishing in our local waters. Chris has been a true asset to our Ronald McDonald House, helping us throughout the holidays and giving us many hours of selfless service while here in Tampa.

December - Ryan Slattery

Ryan was stationed at MacDill in 2004 and had been donating to the Wounded Warrior Program when he decided to get involved with a non-military organization. Ryan enjoys giving back to his community and knew of RMH growing up, so he decided to get involved with the Tampa RMH. He enjoys being around children and can’t imagine what it would be like to have a little on of his own in the hospital. His involvement began with monthly donations and then expanded into becoming a house volunteer, and much more. Ryan is our “go to” guy (we call him Superman!) for events, because he works them all! He helps set up at Storybook Ball, and then buys tickets so he can attend the event as a guest. We can count on him to help out at our fishing tournament, golf tournament, and almost every other event that comes our way, often taking the lead on handling certain aspects or managing volunteers.Ryan is always looking for opportunities to help the families served by RMHC, and has encouraged his own company, Booz Allen Hamilton, to prepare meals at the Tampa House. Ryan is an excellent brand ambassador for Ronald McDonald House, and has furthered that commitment with his participation on the RMH Development Council, which he says has helped him to grow both personally and professionally. We can’t think of a more suitable candidate for Volunteer of the Month than Ryan Slattery. We are so grateful to call him our friend.

November- Nick & Shanay Samuels

Nick and Shanay are our regular bi-weekly Thursday evening volunteers at the West House. Shanay has been with us for 10 years, many of those years as a weekend manager. She and Nick have been volunteering together for the last few years logging in together almost 500 hours! They also sponsor a meal once a month with their church. Their dedication, professionalism and amazing people skills are the reason why they have been chosen as Volunteers of the Month!

October- Sean Murphy

Sean Murphy has been a weekend volunteer for 7 months at the East House and has provided almost 100 hours of service. Never one to sit down, he is always moving – he helps clean and reset rooms, cleans up in the kitchen and does not shy away from doing massive amounts of laundry when needed! He’s flexible in altering his schedule when critical spots open up and has been so helpful in every way to both staff and resident families. We are delighted to award him Volunteer of the Month!

September- Sonya Grimaldi

Sonya Grimaldi is a Tampa native and has resided here for most of her life except for her experiences when she was with the Department of Defense. During the 1960’s she taught school in Japan, just outside of Tokyo, and on the island of Terseira, Azores. Upon returning to Tampa, Sonya joined the faculty of Berkeley Preparatory School where she taught for 38 years, retiring in 2008, just in time to welcome the first of her three grandchildren.Through her tenure as a volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House, Sonya has seen many improvements made to make the families’ stay as pleasant as possible during a stressful time in their lives. Next year Sonya will celebrate her 15th year as a Tampa House Shift Volunteer.  She is most gratified when she can help with Spanish-speaking families and leave her shift knowing that her hours at RMH were well-spent.

August- Milly Myers

Milly has been a big part of Ronald McDonald House for over 18 years. For many of those years she worked as a Weekend Manager and volunteer at both the East and West Houses. With the opening of the Central House in 2010, Milly became a day volunteer there to allow her time to spend weekends with her grandson Evan. As a volunteer, Milly always welcomes every family member that walks into the Central House with her warm smile. She always engages in conversation with families by creating a comfortable and trusting environment. With 1,160 hours of volunteer service to date, Milly is well deserving of this award.

July - Denise Durocher

DeniseDurocherDenise Durocher is someone we can rely on to cover any shift, on any day, at any house!  She’s been a huge help to the West House these past few months for the critical volunteer shifts that opened up unexpectedly and for that reason we have selected her as Volunteer of the Month!Although Denise is one of our weekend managers, in addition to that responsibility, she volunteers over 350 hours per year and currently has 1,850 hours logged.  Her dedication to the RMH program is immensely appreciated!

June - Joe & Gail Suozzi

A better role model and awesome Volunteer Duo you will never find!  Gail and Joe began volunteering in January 2009 and have quickly become a fixture in the East House kitchen every Tuesday night. Currently, they have a combined total of 1,633 hours! Gail and Joe welcome dinner groups, assist in every way and have a special talent for being helpful to the dinner groups without being intrusive. Everyone feels so welcome with Gail and Joe in the kitchen.

When asked about their volunteer time at RMH, Gail responded: “Joe and I feel “rewarded” to be able to help out at RMH. We enjoy interacting with the residents and the groups who prepare the meals.”  It is not uncommon to find Joe chatting and joking with the children in the house, who quickly feel so comfortable at RMH.  Gail and Joe recently returned from a trip to Japan, where they were able to visit the “Donald” McDonald House in Tokyo.  Upon their return, they shared literature, newsletters and handmade items with us.  Joe and Gail epitomize the word “Volunteerism – the principle of donating time and energy for the benefit of other people in the community as a social responsibility rather than for any financial reward”.

Congratulations and many thanks to Gail and Joe!

May - Kenna Felty

Tampa RMH shift volunteer Kenna Felty is a lifelong resident of Tampa, Florida. She graduated from Plant High School and the University of South Florida. Kenna is married to Joel Felty and has two children from a previous marriage, Bianca (15) and Trenton (12). She met her current husband, Joel, 6 ½ years ago. They brought into the world a precious daughter named Juliana.  After the unexpected loss of Juliana at the age of 13 months, Kenna sought a way to give to others in similar circumstances. The appeal of the Ronald McDonald House was being able to offer families a respite from the hospital when they have been keeping vigil by their child’s bedside. Kenna has found her volunteer experience fulfilling, knowing that the house volunteers help create a safe haven for families to escape to for the rest and comfort they need.

When Kenna met Joel, she knew that he had been diagnosed with a genetic medical condition that compromises his kidney function and could someday require him to have a kidney transplant. What she didn’t anticipate was that years later she would find out that she was a donor match for Joel. Once Joel was evaluated and enrolled in the transplant program at Tampa General Hospital, Kenna did not hesitate to be tested for her suitability as a live donor. Kenna and Joel underwent the transplant surgeries the morning of February 11th, 2015. The transplantation was a complete success and both patients are on the road to recovery. The Feltys are looking forward to a bright and healthy future together for many years to come.

April - Jean Ruttan

This spring Jean will mark 25 years of volunteer service at Ronald McDonald House and has provided 1,450 hours of service. Jean works bi-monthly at the East House, and picks up dinners from local restaurants weekly for delivery to the Central House. She has been such a tremendous help and her dedication and support has been invaluable for all these years.

March - Mary Telford

West House volunteer Mary Telford has been volunteering since December 2005 and has given 1,007 hours of her time. Originally from Long Island, NY, Mary has lived in the area for 17 years. She works every other Thursday at the desk offering family support and assists with food preparation for dinner (she makes a fabulous applesauce when we have an abundance of apples!). Several times a month she and her husband take pop tabs (collected at the houses) to the recycling center. This has been a huge help to us! Mary enjoys helping the families, preparing food and finds the work here very fulfilling.

February - Gregoria Camacho

Gregoria Camacho has been a weekend volunteer at the St. Pete East House since 2007 with 500 hours and 6 years of service. As a native Spanish-speaker, Gregoria serves all families, and is especially helpful to our Hispanic families during the weekends. She has also sold numerous items on behalf of RMHC on eBay.  According to Assistant Manager Jodi, “there is no task, too large or too small, that Gregoria will not tackle”.

Gregoria currently works at Brighthouse and greatly looks forward to her Saturday afternoon shift at RMH.  In fact, she drives all the way from Ruskin to volunteer. When asked about her favorite part of volunteering at RMH, Gregoria stated “It’s always a pleasure for me to be at RMH…I really appreciate the opportunity to do something that helps”.

January - David Mervine

David Mervine has been volunteering on the Saturday night shift for over a year at the Tampa Ronald McDonald House. Usually he is on his shift alone, because Saturday nights are not the first choice for most volunteers. But David wanted to be on a shift where he was needed most. He does not volunteer for accolades; nor does he want special attention for his altruistic acts of kindness. When asked why he wanted to volunteer for our RMH he simply stated: “I just want to be there for families when they are in a time of need.” He embraces our mission and wants to make the House comfortable and stress-free for families trying to recharge before returning to their child in the hospital. David prides himself on staying in the background, quietly doing necessary chores but being readily available if a family needs his help. He truly has a handle on what it is like to be a shift volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House and embodies our 2015 motto: Welcoming families to Relax, Reflect and Recharge.

David currently works as a personal banker for the Bank of America. Originally from Liberty, New York, David came to Tampa to study law at Stetson University College of Law and is now a member of the Florida Bar Association.