Coronado Which Wich Serves a PB&J Lunch at Ronald McDonald House

On Friday, September 5, Which Wich of Coronado brought some old fashioned comfort food to children and parents staying at Ronald McDonald House, serving up more than a hundred peanut butter and grape jelly sandwiches for lunch.


It was all part of the sandwich shop's Project PB&J, started by Jeff Sinelli, the company’s founder, seven months ago.  The idea is “to spread the love, one sandwich at a time.” That starts with someone buying a single sandwich at Which Wich, said Maggie Holland, who co-owns the Coronado franchise with her husband Dennis.  Each sandwich cost $3.00, of which two dollars are set aside for the project. One dollar is set aside to provide sandwiches in a global or national disaster situation, such as an earthquake or flood. A second dollar is for local needs


So far, the Holland’s franchises (which include six locations in San Diego County) have served sandwiches at Casa De Amparo, a place for children who have runaway or removed from abusive or neglectful parents, and Rachel’s House, a residence for older women trying to rebuild shattered lives.


As gratifying as helping those women and children was, serving sandwiches to seriously ill children and their families was special -- both heart wrenching and inspiring.


“I am amazed at how strong, faithful and grateful these people are in the face of some truly trying times,” said Meredith Hinz, project director for the local franchise. “The volunteers that work at the Ronald McDonald House are so awesome. It’s nice to see the face of generosity everywhere you turn.”


For Ronald McDonald House, this type of meal service is invaluable, according to John L. Amick, the charity’s Meal Provider Coordinator.  Their kitchen turns out 450 meals a day, including breakfast, lunch, and dinner to families staying at the house; those families all include a child undergoing specialized medical treatment at Rady Children's, Sharp Memorial, or Mary Birch Hospitals. “This includes not only people staying at Ronald McDonald House, but also outpatients, who might only be there for the day," Amick points out.


“The key [criterion] is children,” he added. “All of the people being served are children, with serious illnesses, and their families.”


As it does for most of its activities Ronald McDonald house relies on a combination of a few staff and lots of volunteers to cook and serve the meals.  The kitchen core group of three staff and three to five Job Corps volunteers. In addition, service groups from around the county help out. The Navy personnel in particular have been most generous in donating their time, Amick noted.  All of the food is donated. Their mainstays are Costco and Sprouts. They also get food from Feed America and Albertsons.


Then there are the special meals prepared by local eateries. A number of local restaurants have prepared meals, including Phil’s Barbeque, Hodads and most recently Chesapeake Deli and Catering,” said Amick.


Even though Which Wich makes sandwiches everyday, gearing up for Ronald McDonald took an extra effort.  The Hollands and staff volunteers started making sandwiches in Coronado at 8:30 a.m. for the noon to 1 p.m. lunch. Each was handmade and hand wrapped. “Making 150 sandwiches takes a lot of time and a lot of work,” Maggie Holland remarked at one point.


Still, the Coronado Which Wich team is ready to do it all over again, and is already working with Ronald McDonald’s House to schedule quarterly visits.


“Yesterday was an incredible experience and we were so happy that we could contribute and help at such an amazing place,” she said. 


While they hope to be a permanent part of Ronald McDonald’s House, the Hollands are look for other charities to serve. “We want people to come to us with ideas,” Dennis Holland said.


Source: Gloria Tierney