Nonprofit Grants Wishes for Thanksgiving Meals to Families in Need


Founded in 1982, A Special Wish Foundation is one of the first wish-granting organizations in the United States. The Cleveland Chapter began in 2013 and has been granting the wishes of children under the age of 21 who have been diagnosed with a life-threatening disorder ever since.

At present, the organization grants wishes for patients receiving care at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital, the Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital, and The Ronald McDonald House. As anyone can imagine, these illnesses impact the family not only emotionally, but physically and financially as well. When you add up the time, cost and burden associated with preparing a lovely Thanksgiving meal, it is often too much to bear for the families.

“That's where ASW comes in!" says Eileen Lane, A Special Wish Foundation Cleveland Chapter co-founder. "This is our third year that we have put a program in place that assists any of our wish families that are in need of a Thanksgiving dinner."

As Lane describes it, the approach is broken down into three areas. The first assists “wish families” who are not in-patient, and would love to cook for their families. For that the nonprofit reached out to Marc’s Stores.

"Marc's is a fantastic partner to ASW,” notes Lane. “This year they donated turkeys to 12 of our wish families."

The second approach aims to assist families who while they are not in-patient, don't have the time or ability to prepare a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. For those families in need the nonprofit reached out to Honey Baked Ham.

"This is our third year partnering with the Honey Baked Ham in Rocky River,” says Lane. “This year they donated fully cooked meals with sides and dessert to six of our wish families."

The last group of wish families that A Special Wish assists are those who are stuck in the hospital for the holiday. For that the nonprofit reached out to Jeff Jarrett, executive chef at Sterle's Country House. And he was happy to help. This holiday, Jarrett, his team and ASW will deliver complete Thanksgiving dinners to six wish children and families – right to their hospital rooms at UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital, the Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital, and the Cleveland Clinic Children's Rehab Hospital.

"It is always my pleasure to help ASW, especially during the holiday season,” Jarrett says. “It is unfortunate to be stuck in the hospital, so if we can provide the comfort of a turkey dinner, sign me up!" 

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.