Tracy’s Volunteer Story!

What brought you to Ronald McDonald House Charities of New England?
I always felt so fortunate in my life as a career professional in the retail sector—commuting from Boston to New York City for over 12 years as my last job. As time went on and I began to look for my next chapter, I realized that, while I had built businesses, I was still in need of a different purpose. It was important that I reach out and find something that was connected to my community as well as people whom I could help. It was right under my nose, four blocks away at Harborview. I felt like I was moving back to Boston and wanted to become part of my neighborhood.

Why is Our Mission special to you?
I am a two-time adult cancer survivor; I understand a little about the highs and lows, fears, and stresses that go along with a serious illness or diagnosis. Even since I was a child, I loved to cook; I knew the Meals With Love program would be the perfect way for me to give back. Not to overanalyze it but preparing a meal for someone is a wonderful gift. I think back to when I had a crush on my boyfriend, now my husband, and I baked a quiche for him…we have been together ever since.
Anyway, what began as one simple meal, which I prepared at RMH, morphed into events with birthday cakes, decorations, activities, live music, face-painting, and families sitting around a large table in the Boston Harbor Community Space (this was the best part.) Families lingered and laughed with other folks who knew EXACTLY what they were going through, and they may have even forgotten their cares for an evening. I recruited my friends, and my husband to help, and it was impossible to tell who enjoyed these evenings more!

What are some of your favorite moments at Ronald McDonald House Boston Harbor?
There are so many, but here are a few: I watched a baby crawl so fast across the floor, I was astounded; and even more, I was astounded to find out that seven-month-old had open-heart surgery four days before! And then there was Valentine’s Day dinner with Gretchen Manning—who knew two years later she would be the CEO? I also learned to love listening, to just be there with a family member or their child and offer an ear so they could share how they were doing. I have seen some amazing things in the best of ways at RMH. The combination of their care with our medical community is so very special.
As you can tell I miss being at the House, but I will be back as soon as it is the right time for me.

Wishing you a wonderful Holiday and a normal New Year.

Thanks for thinking of me,
Tracy Iannelli

Tracy Volunteer
Tracy Iannelli Meals with LOVE