Who We Are
Why We Started Max's Meals & More
Max’s Meals & More was started late in 2009, shortly after our son, Max, received a life saving bone marrow transplant (BMT) for treatment of Aplastic Anemia (a rare bone marrow failure disorder). We spent over 8 weeks in the hospital during his transplant process and got to know many other families whose children were being helped by the Cancer and Blood Diseases Institute (CBDI) at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC). The vast majority of these families traveled long distances, many internationally to have their child treated at CCHMC. It’s a very difficult and trying experience. Max’s Meals was born from a compassion to help the families that are currently living at CCHMC while their children are being treated by CBDI.
Our Mission and Goals
The mission of Max's Meals & More is to nourish inpatient children and their families at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC), Cancer & Blood Diseases Institute (CBDI) through meals, comfort items and support activities. In light of this mission, Max's Meals goals are to provide, free of charge:
- Catered meals to inpatient families of CBDI. We will serve at least one group meal per month (professionally catered for 60 - 70 people), including the following special occasions (Christmas Eve, Valentines Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving).
- Birthday cakes and other special occasion cakes (ie bone marrow transplant day, end of chemo day, etc.) and gifts to inpatient children. We allow inpatient children of CBDI to select a cake to celebrate their birthday or other special occasion and keep CCHMC Child Life staff stocked with gift cards from iTunes, Target and Amazon.com to provide on birthdays and other special occasions.
- Support services for families currently undergoing treatment at CBDI.
- Toys and comfort items for patients & families. We partner with the CCHMC, CBDI Child Life employees to select requested items for patients and their families.
In service of this mission, Max's Meals & More works to provide the following to the inpatient families of CBDI, free of charge:
- Meals & Special Events - We began serving meals with our partner, Raffel's Catering, in 2009 and now serve at least 12 group meals for 60 - 70 people each year. We have been told that the meals serve many purposes by the staff at Children’s: not only do they provide nutritious, comfort food, free of charge but the fact that our family and the families of other former patients are there serving them provides hope to the families that are currently in the midst of their children’s battles against cancer or another rare blood/bone marrow disease. They see through us that there is life, there is recovery, there is hope and that is tough to see when you are stuck in the hospital, fighting for your child’s life. Getting your child through treatment for one of these diseases involves the entire family and we believe that the families going through these struggles need to know that people care and are thinking of them. Max’s Meals & More provides that caring touch and that little bit of hope that helps them get through. In 2014, we also began holding special events for the families of the Cancer & Blood Diseases Institute including a Valentine's Day Date Night and multiple Spa Days in partnership with The Face Place who donates their services for the event.
- Cakes - In 2011, we began delivering cakes to the patients that were celebrating birthdays, treatment milestones or other special occasions while inpatient at the hospital. The cakes are created by our partner, Busken Bakery are customized based on the wishes of the child and delivered directly to them through our partnership with the Social Workers and Child Life employees of the Cancer and Blood Diseases Institute.
- Coffee & Dessert Gatherings - In 2012, we began hosting Coffee & Dessert gatherings on the floor of the Cancer & Blood Diseases Institute at Children's to provide caregivers with hope and support while they are in the hospital with their child. These Coffee & Dessert gatherings are staffed by former caregivers from CCHMC's Cancer & Blood Diseases Institute.
- Toys & Comfort Items - Partnering with the Social Workers and Child Life employees of CBDI has allowed us to continuously provide needed items for the patients and their families. We have provided a little bit of everything for patients and families in need from meal cards to the CCHMC cafeteria, to underwear for a little boy in treatment, to a multi-purpose game table for the teen gathering room in the CBDI Teen & Young Adult unit.
- Helping Hands Bags - these bags are filled with items that "experienced caregivers" found useful during those first few days after leaving the hospital for the first time after bone marrow transplant or other significant treatment. We hope that these bags will help nervous caregivers to feel the love and support of Max's Meals!
- Bone Marrow Failure Research Donations - In honor of Max's 14th birthday at the end of 2015, Max's Meals & More made a $14,000 donation to bone marrow failure research being conducted by Dr. Stella Davies (Max's bone marrow transplant doctor) at Cincinnati Children's Hospital.