SDG&E Employees Volunteering to Serve Meals at Ronald McDonald House

Philanthropy Spotlight: Serving Up Meals and Support at the Ronald McDonald House

Each year, hundreds of families with critically ill children benefit from the “home-away-from-home” services provided by the Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego (RMH).

A team of our employees learned first-hand what RMH does back in 2014 when they first volunteered with the organization to serve meals as part of a team-building exercise. What started out as a very small effort has grown into a monthly volunteer event that includes more than 140 people, as well as a robust employee-driven fundraising effort.

Through the years, our volunteers (comprising SDG&E and Sempra Energy employees, contractors, family and friends) have served over 7,500 free, hot meals and provided countless educational STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) activities to the pediatric patients and siblings. They’ve also supported RMH’s annual Holiday party for over 500 of the most medically fragile children at Rady Children’s Hospital and the Bernardy Center.

But the team always felt the need to do more.

They began fundraising in 2015. The total funds raised this year (about $56,000) surpassed the prior three years’ results. That money is enough to provide over 11 weeks’ worth of hot meals, three times a day to every resident and visiting family—that’s over 35,343 guests/meals served. The results for this year include $35,000 in employee payroll deduction donations and a $10,000 match by the Sempra Foundation.

Employees Leading the Fundraising Effort

A significant amount, over $10,000, was raised by one of our IT project managers, Dan Shulman, and his family who hosted a personal fundraiser in honor of their daughter, Sarah. The Shulmans spent five months at the RMH while Sarah was undergoing chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant in March 2018. She is now recovering and anxiously awaiting doctor’s approval to return to school.

“When my daughter was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia I had no idea that I would be spending five of the next six months living at the Ronald McDonald House. It allowed my wife and I to focus on spending time with our daughter instead of worrying about traveling to and from the hospital, meals, laundry or even simple things like getting a haircut,” said Shulman. “As I was returning to work, I felt fortunate to work for a company that supported the Ronald McDonald House and wanted to do everything I could to promote this wonderful cause.”

Over the years, many Sempra/SDG&E employees have also been helped by the kindness of the RMH which makes our efforts even more meaningful. 

Marianne Sy, a customer programs advisor at SDG&E, first helped the RMH become more energy efficient in 2007 when they built their newest location with 47 guest suites. She never dreamed that one day she would be a resident when her daughter, Rina, had Leukemia and her son Patrick became her bone marrow donor.

“We wouldn’t have thought to use the Ronald McDonald House, since we live close by. Every basic comfort that was missing from the hospital—the Ronald McDonald House filled that gap,” said Sy. “With one kid fighting for her life while the other one was there to help save her life, coming to the House took us out of our crisis survival mode.”

More Information

Did you Know the Ronald McDonald House not only supports families staying at the house, but also extends support to all families with a child receiving care at any hospital in San Diego County? To Learn more about the organization, visit