Augie’s Lunches with Love provides lunch for families at the Ronald McDonald House and the AFCH

December 16th, 2019 | Our Families | Our Impact

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Madison (RMHC-Madison), along with Augie and his family, are excited to announce the newly named Augie’s Lunches with Love program at the Ronald McDonald House in Madison.

Augie is a vibrant little boy who radiates joy to those around him. He also has Down syndrome, a congenital heart defect, and Hirschsprung’s disease. Augie and his family are no strangers to the American Family Children’s Hospital (AFCH) and the incredible care they provide.

After moving to the Madison-area in 2014, Nick Shutwell and his wife Melissa learned prenatally that their third child, Augie, would be born with Down syndrome and would require open heart surgery soon after birth.  Following his birth, they spent the first six weeks in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at SSM Health – St. Mary’s Hospital in Madison while Augie had one surgery and waited for his open-heart surgery when he was three months old at AFCH. During this time the Shutwells stayed at the Ronald McDonald Family Room to stay close to their son.

After they returned home, Nick and Melissa looked for ways they could give back and get more involved in the community. Nick specifically remembered their visit at the Ronald McDonald Family Room and the respite he and Melissa received while caring for their son. He recalled seeing a list of potential donation items at the front desk but felt that he needed to give back in a bigger way. Nick joined the Board of Directors at RMHC-Madison in 2016 and will undertake the role of Board President in January 2020. Nick and Melissa also wanted to offer support that would directly impact families and approached RMHC-Madison about naming the lunch program Augie’s Lunches with Love.

“While Augie requires a couple extra doctor appointments here and there, often at AFCH, his health is great, and he is an incredible blessing to our family. We know that extended time in the hospital can be difficult. We wanted to offer our support and encouragement to families, and we hope this lunch provides a bright spot in their day,” said Melissa Shutwell.

Augie’s Lunches with Love is a program that is jointly offered by RMHC-Madison and the American Family Children’s Hospital (AFCH). Each lunch includes a card with a picture of Augie and a word of encouragement from his family. Lunches are prepared by volunteers at the Ronald McDonald House for families staying at the House and those staying at AFCH. The volunteers then deliver them to the hospital. Last year, 11,490 lunches were provided.

About Ronald McDonald House Charities® Madison

Ronald McDonald House Charities® Madison (RMHC-Madison), is a non-profit, 501 (c) (3) corporation that creates, finds, and supports programs that directly improve the health and well-being of children and their families. Through its three core programs: the Ronald McDonald House®, the Ronald McDonald Family Room® and the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile®, it keeps families with sick children close to each other while their child receives medical care at Madison area hospitals. RMHC programs not only provide access to quality health care, they enable family-centered care ensuring families are fully supported and actively involved in their children’s care. For more information, visit