Orlando Chapter Serves Up Barbecue, Hope

Almost 100 people gathered in a dining hall earlier this month for some good ’ol Texas barbecue and to share heartwarming stories around the kitchen tables.

Though it may sound like this homey occasion happened right here in the Lone Star State, it actually occurred in Orlando, where the Texas Exes Orlando Chapter volunteered at their local Ronald McDonald House for Texas Exes Care.

Twenty Texas Exes brushed up on their culinary skills to participate in the Ronald McDonald House’s Share-a-Meal program, which provides meals for families with children receiving medical treatment in the Orlando area.

As coincidence may have it, our Exes happened to be volunteering on the same day Penn State’s alumni association was—and people took notice of their dedication to the Orlando community.

“If every nonprofit did this for one day, so many people would be helped,” said a Ronald McDonald House attendee, who was there with her 4-year-old daughter.

The experience of preparing and serving a traditional Texas meal also warmed the hearts of the volunteers, who also distributed Valentine’s Day cards a local elementary school made for the children.

“It was amazing that the people just kept opening up to us,” said Laura Carpenter, assistant director of chapters for the Texas Exes. “I think you can tell that Texans are just friendlier. It was nice to have that home Texas spirit living through these 20 alumni members.”

And in addition to their appreciation of the Exes’ listening ears, the families at the Ronald McDonald House were especially excited about one other thing.

“People kept coming up to me saying, ‘People always bring us Italian food and pasta,’” Carpenter says. “They were like, ‘We’re so thankful you brought us some meat!’”

Oh, the power of Texas barbecue.

It’s not too late to get involved with Texas Exes Care About the Project! Learn how to get your chapter involved here.

Photos by Laura Carpenter


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