It’s amazing how something as simple as a leisurely cup of coffee on the front porch can seem like a pie in the sky goal, but for Allen and his wife Joyce, this seemingly mundane morning ritual was something they longed to get back to. After radiation and chemotherapy treatments to address the head and throat cancer that Allen was fighting, an abdominal feeding tube took away his ability to have that morning coffee on the porch – and his ability to eat anything at all, for that matter.
Thankfully, the couple found a physician here in Winston-Salem who could do more than promise life with a feeding tube, so Allen and Joyce made the trip from Atlanta for appointments and treatment, and first set up “home” in a hotel. A shuttle driver for the hospital had a better idea: the SECU Family House.
They were unsure of staying in a hospitality house. Wouldn’t a house full of folks dealing with illnesses be a depressing atmosphere? Wouldn’t interactions with other families staying there be tense and sad because of the circumstances and the stress everyone would surely be under?
Allen and Joyce reluctantly checked out of their hotel and made the move to the SECU Family House – and what they found was a warm, welcoming, oasis of a home. And after nine long, tedious months of not having a bite to eat, Allen had his FIRST meal at the SECU Family House – a bowl of beef stew lovingly prepared by a group of the house’s dedicated, long-standing volunteers.
Their story is one of the hundreds that have taken place within the walls of the house that show the impact of such a facility in our city. And major fundraising events like “Men Who Cook” – coming up on March 21 at Bridger Field House – support the work that the house does and the love, care, and shelter that it provides 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
The event – now in its 5th year – brings together local male amateur chefs and their cooking teams who battle it out to please the taste buds of over 400 hungry attendees. Participating chefs come from all sectors of the Winston-Salem community, from banking to clergy, lawyers to realtors, higher education to local media, and everything in between.
“We are thrilled that this event continues to be one that garners such wonderful support for our house,” said Kathy Carr, executive director of SECU Family House. “The kitchen is definitely the heart of our homes and meal preparation is such a large part of the services that Family House provides its guests. We love bringing families together over food, and we love what a fun, popular event Men Who Cook has become over its five-year run.”
The Family House, which is conveniently located near Winston-Salem’s two major hospitals, has served as home base for folks from 95 North Carolina counties and 43 states and has welcomed more than 38,000 overnight guests since opening its doors in 2011. When families come to our area with their loved ones for medical treatment – whether planned or in emergency situations – the Family House provides a welcoming, comfortable atmosphere for rest, food, community, and more. There is only a small overnight fee for guests, and a Family House assistance fund is in place thanks to faithful donations and events like the Men Who Cook fundraiser.
Each year, Men Who Cook chefs create their own recipes, ranging from appetizers to desserts, and may utilize a sous chef during the event. They provide tastings of their fares for attendees to enjoy, hoping to win a coveted award. Early online voting will be available as well. Last year alone, the Men Who Cook event raised nearly $140,000 for the SECU Family House!
Make plans to join us on March 21 when Winston-Salem’s own will don their aprons and grab their whisks for a great cause!
SECU Family House “Men Who Cook”
Saturday, March 21 – 6:30-9:00 pm
Bridger Field House, Winston-Salem
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Wooden Spoon sponsorships are available for $250, which include a reservation for two and a listing in the souvenir program. Event reservations are $75 for a single admission, $140 for couples. familyhousews.org/men-who-cook-admission.
Contact Tracy Geiger at the SECU Family House at 336-793-2822 or firstname.lastname@example.org.