Dinnertime Hero Spotlight: Alexander Falkenstein

Favorite meal to prepare for families: Breakfast for dinner

How we know him: Board member, previous Red Shoe Society member and president, superstar volunteer

Tell us about the first time you prepared dinner at the House?
The first time I cooked at Roanoke was in the Spring of 2013 with the Red Shoe Society. It was the first time connecting with the group that I’d go on to lead for four years and if I remember correctly, I was stationed at the grill outside helping make cheeseburgers.

What keeps you coming back?
I’ve cooked over 80 meals and it’s the opportunity and privilege to directly help others that brings me back again and again. You know that everyone grabbing a plate is going through one of the most challenging experiences of their lives and this simple act can help alleviate some stress so they can focus on what’s most important, their children and family.

What makes this program different from other volunteer opportunities?
This is one of the few opportunities where volunteers can directly connect with and serve families during their time of need. It’s immediate.

What is your advice for others who are interested in being a Dinnertime Hero?
Just do it. If you’re afraid your cooking skills aren’t up to the task, just do it. My friends who say they can’t cook always find a way to contribute and always ask to do it again. Simple meals made with love are appreciated just as much as a fancy dinner.

In your experience, why is preparing dinners for families so important?
Any family can find themselves in a situation where they’re staying at a Ronald McDonald House. An opportunity to help take one task off their to-do list can have a huge impact on their well-being.

Anything else you’d like to share?
I’ve met families from around the world. I’ve seen families month after month who have truly called the Roanoke house their home. To have the opportunity and privilege to give back directly and bring some joy, comfort, and calories into their lives is an experience I can’t fully describe and as long as I can, will never stop.