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Local teacher cooks dinner for Ronald McDonald House

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Holiday family gatherings can be a stressful time, but Tuesday one family came together to help ease the stress for those at the Dell Children's Hospital.

Usually a kitchen full of relatives can be a recipe for disaster. However, that type of controlled chaos on a Christmas day was part of Bruce Johnston's family reunion.

Tuesday morning the Connally High teacher and his family prepared a holiday meal. Not for themselves, but for those who have a child at Dell Children's Hospital and are having to spend Christmas in the Ronald McDonald House.

"We do it, yeah because it is about giving, we're blessed with what we have and what better way than spending some time serving others," said Johnston.

The kitchen staff of aunts, uncles, in-laws and cousins hails from Utah, Iowa, and Wisconsin as well as Austin. It's been six years since this idea was cooked up and became a holiday tradition.

"Two years ago we were in Salt Lake City and we donated out time to a food pantry. So we've been doing it for a while," said Johnston.

The family also brought gifts, and there is a special story behind that. Each year Johnston's daughters have a birthday party, but instead of receiving gifts, they ask the people coming to bring donations so they can bring the items to their service events."

The presents were added to what other people have also brought for the children. At the time there were 16 families at the Ronald McDonald House when the holiday meal was served.

For David Martin and Kaerek, Martin's 6-year-old son, it was a plateful of kindness from one family to another.

"I love turkey, but I like it with peppercorn ranch," said the younger Martin.

This home cooked meal provides a brief sense a normalcy.

"It's great, it takes so much pressure off of us, my little boy has leukemia and we are already having to deal with him with a life threatening illness and having to do all the therapy the treatments the chemo dealing with his sickness and being in a wheel chair having the peace of mind that we can come in here and have a nice meal sit down and relax take it easy for a few minutes is really great a real blessing," said Martin.

After a slice of pie, this unexpected Christmas meal came to a close, but the love that went into making it will not soon be forgotten.

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