Preparing Meals for Families in Need
Oct 11, 2013
When Michelle Foy, vice president and executive recruiter at Bank of America, presented a charitable contribution to the Fisher House Foundation, she was inspired to do more for the organization. She volunteered to provide monthly dinners for the Fisher House at DC VA Medical Center in Northwest Washington – and recruited 15 colleagues from the Military Support Affinity Group to help.
The Fisher House Foundation operates a network of “homes away from home” for families of patients receiving medical care at major military and VA medical centers. Each home has private suites, as well as a large common kitchen, dining room, living room and library. There are currently 61 Fisher Houses in the United States and Germany, with seven in the Washington, D.C., area and more in development.
“Many patients and families are required to travel great distances to receive specialized medical care,” said Foy. “The Fisher House Foundation donates a comfortable home located near the treatment center, enabling family members to be close to a loved one at a stressful time, whether it’s a hospitalization, unexpected illness, disease or surgery.” Since its development in 1990, the Fisher House Foundation has served more than 180,000 families, including 19,000 in 2012.
The monthly dinners prepared by Foy’s team are tastes of home for the families staying at the Fisher House at the DC VA Medical Center. Foy adds to the fun by assigning a theme to each meal, like an indoor picnic or Oktoberfest celebration. She has grown close to the families, who often ask when she’s coming back, and to House Manager Kenneth Merritt. When Foy’s father passed away, she presented Merritt with one of his prized coins to thank him for his service. Merritt has since assumed management of the five Fisher Houses at the Walter Reed National Military Center in Bethesda, Maryland.
Foy’s personal connection to the organization is inspired, in part, by her father’s career in the U.S. Army. “I love the Fisher House,” she said “I love everything they do – their mission, what they’re trying to accomplish, and how crucial and paramount it is that they help these families in their time of need.” She continued: “Anything I could do to further the Fisher House mission and story, I definitely would be involved in that, not only for the DC area, but around the United States.” Foy plans to start by organizing similar volunteer efforts by Bank of America employees at Fisher Houses in Maryland and Virginia.