For the first time in its 40-year history, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Indiana has its own executive chef. The nonprofit provides a place for families of young patients at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health and other hospitals to stay and Chef Vlad Bora has joined to provide homecooked meals that comfort families when they need it most.
In an interview with Business of Health Reporter Kyle Veleta, Bora said the families that come to the Ronald McDonald House come from all walks of life but have one thing in common: they’re facing a crisis of a lifetime.
“Many families come here with little more than the clothing on their backs to care for their children and worried how they’re going to live away from home,” said Bora. “We want to take care of our families holistically so that they’re better equipped to be present for their child and cope with the stress of the child’s condition. So a lot of my meals are geared towards comfort and nourishing as well.”
In addition to his work in the kitchen, Bora’s job as executive chef also involves developing business partnerships in the community. He says partnerships and collaboration are what drive the success of the nonprofit’s mission.
“If you were thinking of our house kitchen as a restaurant, we need the help, the food, the supplies and the equipment to keep it running at optimum capacity. So partnerships with local businesses and, likewise, charitable organizations are vital. We think that without them, we could not fulfill our mission.”
Bora says many of the families that stay at the house typically face food insecurity when they are at home. He says the house sends those families home with a bag of supplies so they can be able to prepare a meal when they get home.
“Most importantly, we work to make sure that we’re sending families home with connections to organizations and professionals they can reach out to in case they need help. The social workers at our local hospitals are amazing resources for our families and we know that they value and appreciate that help.”