Bettering Communities: Ronald McDonald House Charities
I had the opportunity to visit one of my favorite charities, the Ronald McDonald House, in Loma Linda California this last weekend. We spoke with Karen who is the Director of Operations and took a tour of their facility. I learned what they are doing to provide stability and vital resources to families so they can get their children healthy and keep them that way.
Currently there are over 300 Ronald McDonald House's world wide. 173 of these homes are located in the US. The facilities are available to families that have children who are seriously ill or injured. It provides a "home away from home" where families can stay for days or months depending on their circumstances. The homes are close to medical facilities so that families can be close to their loved ones while receiving treatment. Providing stability is one of RMHC's main goals. It is a home with a cooked meal, a private room, laundry facilities, a play area, or a common family room where families can get to know and lean on each other for support. Donations help the RMH provide the resources these families need while they are living there. They have blankets, toys, food, books, bedding and personal hygiene items for all their guests.
We had the opportunity to talk with the Lopez family while we were visiting. Their 7 month old son Sebastian has had heart problems since birth and is being treated at the hospital in Loma Linda. I was touched by their story as they talked about the many trials they have had with their son's health.
Mr Lopez shared his struggle of trying to figure out how to work and take care of his family at the same time. His wife and son needed to be close to the hospital while he tried to focus on providing financially for his family. The RMH was able to provide a place for his family to stay while their son was being treated. He talked about how wonderful the staff had been to his family. He didn't have to worry about his wife going to the hospital late at night with out him because the house had a shuttle service that would take her wherever she needed to go. Mr Lopez said, "At first I didn't feel like this was my house." "After awhile the RMH wasn't just a house we were staying at, it became our home." As we toured the facility it was evident that there was a strong spirit there. It was a home to so many families that needed its walls to protect, care and nourish them.
How can we help?
Karen told us that they have many volunteers in the Loma Linda house that make her staff's job easier. People donate their time cooking, performing music, cleaning, and reading to the children. The opportunities are endless for each of us to serve a local RMH. To find volunteer opportunities go to rmch.org
Right now Ronald McDonald is having their annual fundraiser for #giveahand!. You can go to any local McDonalds and purchase a hand for 1, 2 or 5 dollars. 75% of the donations stay locally and the rest go to help houses in other countries. If you purchase a happy meal, a percentage of the monies will also go to help the RMH. They hope to collect millions of dollars every year during this fundraiser to help families get the stability and resources they need.
What charity is important to you? How do you teach your children to be more charitable?