24 Oct Volunteer Spotlight: These Social Butterflies Can Cook!
The Social Butterflies are (from left) Wendy Hayes, Tammy Southall, Lauri Buell, Molly Bockley, Amy Otto, Sandra Bockley and Erin Wells. Those not pictured include Marsha Ward, Misty Stallo, Janelle Bowesox and Tanya Uherka.
The Social Butterflies are not your average butterfly; they consistently create, cook and present elaborate meals for the families of Ronald McDonald House Charities.
Several years ago, Amy Otto found herself in the Peachtree-Dunwoody House kitchen and instantly felt at home. Her husband, a board member for Mr. Tom’s Heart, answered her questions about how to get involved. Thus, the group’s metamorphosis began with Amy gathering a group of girlfriends, who wanted to give back to their community. and the Social Butterflies emerged!
The average butterfly migrates during the winter. The Social Butterflies, however, volunteer at the Peachtree-Dunwoody House year round. This allows for them to build and maintain relationships with one other and the families. “Talking with families and knowing that we may have been a tiny bright spot during their stay makes our monthly gathering so special,” Amy says.
Once a month, the Social Butterflies, cook a fun, creative and healthy meal. They have been doing so for about three years with a little help from a special friend Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities, Mr. Tom.
When Mr. Tom discovered the Social Butterflies were not a corporate-funded group and paid for their own ingredients, he began giving them gift cards to Costco and Kroger. This has helped with group expenses and allowed for extra-special meals.
Extra special meals make for extra special memories. One Sunday before Christmas, the Social Butterflies wore their pajamas and prepared a delicious brunch for the families. According to Amy, several families came downstairs and then disappeared without eating. The Social Butterflies were pleasantly surprised when the families returned to brunch in their pajamas, also!
The Social Butterflies believe that the way to someone’s heart is through his or her tummy. So, they try to come up with fun themes and interesting food options with the intention of lifting the spirits of the families.
“We can only imagine how hard it would be to have a sick child and be away from the comforts of home,” Amy says.
Often their menu theme ties into the season. Surf and Turf and Low Country Boil are always a bit hit. The Social Butterflies cook dinner on Fridays and sometimes families that are checking out for the weekend will stay for dinner when they see the menu.
Feeding others feeds Amy’s soul and spending time with her friends has been such a special, bonding experience. “I have learned so much from the Social Butterflies and hope we will flutter our wings together for a very long time at Ronald McDonald House,” Amy says.