(UPDATE: On March 13, D’Lish owner Amanda Babichuk posted signs on the front door of the restaurant – they advised that, sadly, the restaurant had closed its doors for good)
The smell of beef stew and fresh bread wafts through the dining room of what could be any family home on a Sunday evening, but today is Monday and the dinner table belongs to the Ronald McDonald House.
Seven volunteers from d’Lish Urban Kitchen & Wine Bar are there, busily preparing a meal for the Home for Dinner program. The program enlists volunteer groups to prepare a meal for nearly 30 families from out of town, who are staying at the 42,000-square-foot heritage home, while their children receive medical treatment in Edmonton.
At least once a month, D’Lish owner Amanda Babichuk leads a team, who bring the ingredients, prepare the meals and serve them too. With her business now in its third year, Babichuk feels ready to give back to the house that made an effort to help her eight years ago when her son was born with heart complications.
“We were just trying to understand his prognosis [when] outreach workers from the Ronald McDonald House contacted us.” She already lived in the city, so she was ineligible for the house. But even after her four-day-old boy passed away, she always remembered the RMH’s support.
She hopes to increase her monthly commitments to two or three dinners a month and connect more with the families.
One father of four’s gratitude really stuck with her. While she played with one of his children, he turned to her and said: “I don’t remember the last time I had a cup of coffee. I feel like a king right now.”
Babichuk knows the experience of helping at the RMH is making a positive impact on her staff. “It’s not just about feeding people. It’s about making that connection. It feeds us, and it feeds them.”