Once a month, engineer Mai Bui uses her lunch break for grocery shopping—not for her family of four, but for 150 people at San Diego’s Ronald McDonald House. The next evening, she and a dozen or more volunteers prepare fresh, healthy suppers for families who are taking a break in the care of their hospitalized children.
Mai is the founder of International Compassion Charities, a nonprofit that first started serving meals here in November 2013. They’ve been doing it monthly ever since.
Mai acknowledges that it was a lot to manage at first, but she’s got her system down, from transporting ingredients to recruiting volunteers via Facebook. It may be friends, or friends of friends who show up to volunteer.
It’s a social time, and we have fun. But primarily we’re here to serve, and to show compassion to families who are going through difficult times.
Mai especially wants to get young people involved in service. Adult volunteers prepare the hot foods, but it’s the youth who are on the front lines filling plates.
For Mai, compassion is about service and simply being present.
Sometimes, you see that people just need to eat and have their own space to relax. Other times, you talk and share words of encouragement.
For all that she’s busy with family and work, giving back is a priority in Mai’s life. “We are lucky our kids don’t have serious health conditions. Making a healthy dinner for families at the Ronald McDonald House is something I’m happy to do.” Join Mai and her group via intercompassioncharities.org.