Spending Christmas away from home is never easy for anyone. On top of that, after an intense day of treatments and emotional decisions, there’s nothing better for the families of St. Jude than to sit down at the dinner table as a family and forget about the difficult journey, even for a brief moment. It is for that reason alone that few events at St. Jude unite so many families like the delicious Cuban-style Christmas dinner prepared year after year by author and chef Adrianne Calvo for the kids and families of St. Jude.
“Cooking is definitely my passion, but when you’re helping to bring a smile to a patient and their family at St. Jude, it’s truly cooking with heart,” said Calvo. “To cook them a traditional Cuban dinner is my way of bringing them a little slice of home.”
Patients like Ashley couldn’t keep from smiling at the abundance of traditional delicacies, like roast pork, pork rinds, tostones, plantains and creamy flan. One patient’s grandmother returned to the long line for a second time just to express her gratitude to the chef, telling her it’s been such a long time since she’s tasted something so delicious.
The St. Jude cause is something near and dear to the heart of Chef Calvo, who knows what it’s like to have a loved one with cancer. Several years ago, Calvo lived through the tragedy of losing her sister to cancer. From that moment, the chef decided to support St. Jude. This past holiday season marked Chef Calvo’s 11th visit to St. Jude to share her Christmas dinner.
“The reason why I return, really, is because of the kids and families. It’s an unforgettable experience – after working all day to organize it for them, to see them happy to receive that meal, or simply hear a child tell you that the food reminds them of spending time at grandma’s house. Something like that is incredible.”
This Mother's Day, our St. Jude families depend on supporters like you
When you support St. Jude, families, like Ashley's, never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food — because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.