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Volunteers Provide Special Meal For Families Focused On Loved One In Need

By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - A group of "Home Cook Heroes" prepared the 50,000th meal at the Gift of Life Family House in Old City on Saturday.

It was a hearty meal for those who aren't even thinking about food.

"Grilled flank steak sliced up, grilled onions, mushrooms and peppers...some Mac and cheese," says JB Dilsheimer (second from left in photo). He is one of a ten friends who volunteered their time and money to prepare a meal for more than a dozen families at Gift of Life Family House, which supports organ transplant patients and their families.

"These people probably don't eat good meals all the time...not being at home," says Dilsheimer, a personal injury lawyer who also provides pro bono legal work for the Gift of Life. "I hope that they enjoy it and that it brings a little warmth in their life while they're going through a tough time."

"When you're on the waiting list for an organ, you need to be ready and available for when an organ is ready," says Aaron Maass (second from right in photo), one of the volunteers. But for Maass, the effort is personal. He says his mother received a lifesaving liver transplant 15 years ago.

"She was on the list for three or four months," says Maass, "some people are on the list for two years or more waiting for a transplant and you have to be no more than 30 minutes away from the hospital. This is a lifesaver."

Thanks to donations, Gift of Life Family House provides meals, lodging and transportation for only $40 a night for families who travel to Philadelphia to support a loved one who is waiting for a transplant, undergoing a transplant or is in recovery, says Sara Cohen who works at Gift of Life Family House.

"The transplant journey is really up and down," she says, "the hospitals do a great job of taking care of the patient, but often times the families are left on their own. If the family house was not here they might have to spend their time sleeping in waiting rooms or spending a lot of money on hotels."

To become a "Home Cook Hero" or for more info on the Gift of Life website.

For more on community affairs stories from your neighborhood, follow KYW Community Affairs reporter Cherri Gregg on Twitter at @cherrigregg; you can also "Like" her on Facebook.

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