The Hands Behind Our House: Caroline Targonski

At Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Texas, we keep our guest families close to their hospitalized children by meeting everyday needs like lodging, meals, laundry services, and more. Of course, we could not do so without our incredible volunteers! The recruiting and coordination of our volunteers takes time, attention to detail, and strong organizational skills. We are so grateful for our amazing Volunteer Relations Coordinator, Caroline Targonski—the hero who makes the magic of our meal groups happen!

Caroline has worked as RMHC CTX’s Volunteer Relations Coordinator since July 2022. She originally got involved with RMHC during her college years through her sorority, Alpha Delta Pi. Caroline volunteered with the Meals from the Heart program in Winston Salem, North Carolina. She also helped organize various fundraising events for the chapter.

“I saw the impact I was making just as one person,” Caroline recalled. “I was always grateful to volunteer and support through different events. The more I learned about the organization, the more I fell in love with the mission.”

On a typical day, Caroline coordinates with volunteer groups and schedules teams to come to the Ronald McDonald House to cook meals for our guest families. According to Caroline, these programs “allow RMHC guest families the opportunity to not worry about getting groceries or ordering anything. They’re able to trust that there will be a meal provided and be reminded that the community is caring for them.”

Meals from the Heart volunteers come to our Ronald McDonald House to cook breakfast, lunch, or dinner for families staying in the House. Baking is occasionally involved as well! Through this program, we aim to provide families with two to three meals a day so they can continue to focus on being with their child through their treatment. One family said, “We appreciated every meal provided by volunteers. It truly took our stress away in figuring out dinner or lunch when my priority was focusing on my daughter.” In 2022, over 1,000 volunteers helped prepare more than 700 meals for families staying in the Ronald McDonald House!

Caroline also coordinates and schedules volunteers for our Lunches with Love Program. Lunches with Love volunteers pack sack lunches to serve families directly in the hospital unable to leave their children’s side. In 2022, volunteers gave over 500 hours of their time to pack and deliver lunches. These sack lunches make a huge impact on families. “I appreciated having the peanut butter and jelly sack lunch after having missed breakfast and lunch,” said one guest family. “It was one less thing to think about during a challenging time.”

Meals from the Heart and Lunches with Love physically, mentally, and emotionally nourish families while they face unimaginable circumstances. However, these programs possess great financial benefits as well. In 2022, our RMHC programs helped 1,020 families save approximately $2.3 million on food and lodging costs.

Throughout her time at the House, Caroline has learned “anyone can help in a big or small way, whether that’s from monetary donations or packing meals for families in the hospital.” While preparing a meal may seem simple, doing so truly can change a life! RMHC CTX offers various volunteer opportunities for any and everyone to make a difference in our guest families’ lives.

For more information on how to volunteer with RMHC CTX, check out our volunteer page and discover the best ways to get involved!