Peter Jajcay of Peter’s Restaurant on Route 6 in Shohola, PA recently brought his talent and compassion to the Ronald McDonald House in Philadelphia where he and his assistant Hanna Kyle cooked up a feast for the House’s patient-residents and the members of their families who are there to support them.
There are over 300 Ronald McDonald Houses worldwide offering lodging near treatment facilities for the families of children with life-threatening illnesses and serious injuries. One of the slogans of this charity is “we know that families are stronger when they are together, and their presence helps a sick child heal faster and cope better.” Peter’s presence during his visit helped the children and their families too. He supplied tasty food, excellent nutrition, spiritual nourishment, an interesting diversion and a bit of fun. One teenager who had just completed three months of intensive chemotherapy was thrilled to meet Peter because he too wants to be a chef. Though this boost to the young man’s spirit cannot be measured like a dose of medicine or radiation therapy, it certainly had the therapeutic quality that goes along with positive thinking and planning for the future.
Peter became aware of the Ronald McDonald charity when he was approached by Michelle Hansen of Misc. Essentials, a kitchen shop, in Hawley, PA. Michelle recruited Peter and his talent for help at the Ronald McDonald Camp which for all but one week a year is known as Camp Timbertops, a summer camp for kids that has been operating in Greeley, PA since 1931. Timbertops donates the camp to the Ronald McDonald House for one week each year in August. During the time that the camp functions under the auspices of Ronald McDonald House, kids ages 7-17 who are undergoing cancer treatment, as well as their siblings, enjoy a wide range of activities during a sojourn that bolsters the body and the spirit. Staffing, which includes counselors, pediatric oncologists, nurses and social workers, is entirely volunteer. Visitors like Peter and Michelle who offer hands-on cooking classes to the kids are volunteer too. Following his work at the Ronald McDonald Camp, Peter ran a marathon in Philadelphia proudly wearing a camp t-shirt with a large picture of all of the kids at the camp pinned to his chest. In his way, he was carrying the hopes and dreams of these sick children over the many miles that his long legs carried him during the run.
Peter was so taken by his experience with the kids at the camp, that the logical next step for him was to visit and help at the Ronald McDonald House in Philadelphia. Peter’s manner has always been compassionate, generous, and giving, but his interest and understanding for these kids and their families is far more personal, since Peter, himself, suffers from an inoperable brain tumor, an anaplastic oligodendroglioma. Rather than retreat into depression, Peter has chosen to live his life fully and to help where he can. He chuckled as he related the story of how matter-of-fact the seriously ill kids at Ronald McDonald House were when they approached him to ask what his diagnosis was and then proceeded to offer him advice.
Peter met kids and their families, staff, and other volunteers while he was at both the Ronald McDonald Camp and the Ronald McDonald House in Philadelphia. He came away from those experiences with an even greater desire to lend a hand. If fate allows him the time, he plans more visits to the Ronald McDonald charities, but in the meantime he and his wife Helena, their restaurant, and the staff and friends of Peter’s Restaurant, are all committed to furthering the good work of the Ronald McDonald Camp and Ronald McDonald House.
As part of his commitment, Peter will be donating 10% of the total receipts at his restaurant on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays to the Ronald McDonald charities. Additionally he has a number of Ronald McDonald Camp t-shirts for sale, the proceeds of which will go to the charity. Customers and friends are also encouraged to lend their support; donations can be made through Peter’s Restaurant or directly at the Ronald McDonald House website at www.rmhc.org.
The menu at Peter’s Restaurant also has some interesting new additions. As part of his pledge to himself and his customers of a more healthful lifestyle, he has added a number of dishes that are created from all natural ingredients having no chemicals or hormones—this includes seven new additions to his wine list. At Peter’s you can enjoy a meal that not only tastes great, but is good for you too, and if you dine there on Mondays, Wednesdays or Thursdays, you have the added satisfaction of knowing that 10% of your dining dollars is helping a worthy cause.
Peter’s Europa House Restaurant is on Route 6 west in Shohola, PA. Their phone number is 570-296-2624