The pressure is on Vickie Harlow. She has a lot of mouths to feed on Thanksgiving, and can use all the help she can get peeling and chopping to ensure dinner's served on-time.
But Harlow isn't working in her kitchen. She's in the kitchen at the Ronald McDonald House, where the Burlington grandmother has been preparing Thanksgiving dinner for 10 Thanksgivings now. "I just can't tell you how special this place is. It's a haven," she beams.
The non-profit provides families of hospital patients a place to stay while their seriously ill children undergo treatment. It takes more than 250 volunteers to keep this place running 24/7 all year long. The house is thankful this holiday for people like Vickie Harlow.
House director Pam Fenimore says, "She makes them feel this is their home away from home during the Thanksgiving time when they can't be home with loved ones. They have to be here because their child requires some medical treatment at Fletcher Allen."
The quiet and patient chef volunteers at the Ronald McDonald house all year long. She and her family will serve Thanksgiving dinner to at least three other families, and enjoy the meal with them. It may not be a traditional Thanksgiving, but Harlow says it's better. "We're all one big family," she says.
When they all sit down to savor the results of hours of hard work, it's a reminder of the things to be most thankful for: family, friends, community, health, and kindness. "That's what Thanksgiving is all about," says Harlow.
And Vickie Harlow wouldn't spend the holiday anyplace else. "I just love it here," she smiles.
Thursday, May 23 2013 9:57 AM EDT2013-05-23 13:57:59 GMT
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