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Conyers Cooking and Caring for Families

Front Row, l-r Teri Smith, Poppy Farran, Joni Smith, Ashley Karner  Back Row l-r: Patti Hunt, Chef Fred Heurtin, Elsina Hagan, Natalie Kollars, Brad Ballieu Also attended but not in the picture: Brett Becker

Front Row, l-r: Teri Smith, Poppy Farran, Joni Smith, Ashley Karner; Back Row l-r: Patti Hunt, Chef Fred Heurtin, Elsina Hagan, Natalie Kollars, Brad Ballieu; attended but not pictured: Brett Becker

“Cooking done with care is an act of love.” This is particularly true at the Ronald McDonald House Gatewood because of the Conyers Product Development team who volunteered to provide a home-cooked dinner made from fresh ingredients to 40 family members on Thursday, June 25. Under the leadership of Joni Smith, Chairperson to the Conyers Foundation Chapter, a volunteer group of 10 planned the exquisite menu and prepared a wonderful flavorful fajita bar in the RMHC full service kitchen.

“There’s something magical about cooking with fresh ingredients,” said Joni. “It brings out the inner kid in you!” On the menu were chicken and flanked steak fajitas, gourmet beans and rice, salsa, guacamole and other sides made from fresh and organic ingredients. To satisfy the guests’ taste buds even more, a tantalizing Tres Leches cake was served for dessert.

Dinner was uniquely a community effort. Special gsf spices created delicious and refreshing limeade; Fellow PD associate Donnie Longino provided jalapenos from his garden; Chef Fred created smoky lime butter for the corn on the cob from gsf’s special spices; Teri Smith donated a sweet and delicious homemade Tres Leches cake and Natalie Kollars created floral masterpieces from bell peppers.

Families who stay at the Ronald McDonald House experience a flood of emotions every day. “I believe a home cooked meal makes all the difference in the world after a long day at the hospital,” said Smith. “When I informed the staff that one of our Chef’s and our team of food scientists would volunteer, the staff created a special menu and spread the word throughout the house. I truly believe it was the most house guests I have ever seen come and enjoy dinner!”