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Kid Companions- Chewelry: Jul 2, 2010

July 2, 2010

Ronald McDonald House Charities~ Helping Kids by Supporting Families

Recently Marianne Russo, creator of The Coffee Klatch, spotlighted Ronald McDonald House Charities on one of the Tweetchats.

 Her special guests were Lauren Fischer, Communications Supervisor, Clara Carner, manager of Public Relations and Marketing and Jennifer Smith, Senior Director of Ronald McDonald House.

 In Marianne’s words this non-profit organization is: “ La crème de la crème - the best of the best.”

Since 1976, when their first Ronald McDonald House opened in Philadelphia, Ronald McDonald House Charities have been dedicated to helping children, with serious illnesses or disabilities, and their families lead happier and healthier lives.

 RMHC has provided stability and resources to families overwhelmed with the financial and emotional costs of raising a sick child. They do this through three core programs - Ronald McDonald Houses, Ronald McDonald Family Rooms and Ronald McDonald Care Mobiles.

The mission and vision of RMHC tell us immediately this is one charity we should all support.
Mission: The mission of Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) is to create, find and support programs that directly improve the health and well being of children.
Vision: We believe that when you change a child’s life, you change a family’s, which can change a community, and ultimately the world.

About Ronald McDonald Houses
Situated close to hospitals, there are 298 Ronald McDonald Houses in 32 countries. Ronald McDonald Houses offer families a warm, compassionate and comfortable home environment for a nominal fee. It is a place where families can be together and share experiences with others who are just like them.

For example, in Canada there are twelve Ronald McDonald Houses and in New York State there are eight. Fortunately for us, one is found in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Two of my grandchildren have had to stay at the IWK Health Centre which provides pediatric and obstetric care for children in the Maritime Provinces. This medical facility is 300 Km from our home and the Ronald McDonald House, within 5 min. walking distance from the hospital, became our home away from home.

As soon as we opened the door of this huge house we were greeted by a friendly woman who made us feel welcome. She introduced us to the other families and in a moment you felt a connection with them as they were in the same situation. The volunteers quietly went about trying to do all they could to lighten the overwhelming burden of having a sick child. Often the volunteer was tutoring a child or playing with some of the children.

 I was impressed at how clean and well organized the whole house was. We shared space in the large refrigerator, cooked our meals in the modern kitchen and ate at family sized tables while chatting with other families in a large open room. Our private bedroom was very comfortable. A small donation of around $10 was asked and you only had to leave everything as you found it by cleaning the kitchen after use, changing the sheets on the beds and thoroughly cleaning the bedroom before leaving.

On The Coffee Klatch it was pointed out that all RMHC programs are family centered. They support families and help to ease minds, heal bodies, and strengthen spirits. One example given was a great story from the Ronald McDonald House in Dallas, Texas. They have a beacon they light up at night so kids in the hospital can see where their parents are staying. The sick child feels close to his family and they actually heal faster and cope better when their family members are close by.

About the Ronald McDonald Family Rooms
The Family Rooms are located in the hospital, steps from neonatal or pediatric intensive care units. They are a place where families can rest and regroup minutes away for their sick child. Volunteers bring things like sandwiches, muffins and snacks to Family Rooms so watching over your child can be a little more comforting. Any family with a child receiving treatment in a hospital is eligible to use Ronald McDonald Family Room facilities.

The first Ronald McDonald Family Room in Canada opened its doors at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia on January 24th, 2007. The Ronald McDonald Family Room in the IWK Health Centre is an inviting area that serves as a quiet rest spot for all families at the IWK Health Centre. A home away from home - in the Health Centre. The Family Room includes four bedrooms, living room, art room, kitchen/dining area, computers and laundry facilities. You are always just steps away from your sick child.

My daughter and her newborn of 2 lb 6 ounces were at the IWK for Christmas and Santa Claus came to the neonatal care unit and  the Family Room to distribute gifts to the older sibling. At that time the family rooms were not under the Ronald McDonald banner but were very similar.

About the Ronald McDonald Care Mobiles
Ronald McDonald Care Mobiles are the newest program and were started ten years ago. There website states: Ronald McDonald Care Mobiles go directly into areas where children are medically underserved. Care Mobiles offer high-quality medical and dental care through relationships with local health care organizations and clinical service providers. The 40-foot vehicles are built specifically to deliver the pediatric health care services of the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile programs. All services offered on Ronald McDonald Care Mobiles are provided free of charge to children and their families.

How to find Ronald McDonald programs near you?
You can find RMHC Chapters, Ronald McDonald Houses, Ronald McDonald Care Mobiles or Ronald McDonald Family Rooms in 52 countries around the world by clicking here

Who pays for the Ronald MacDonald programs?
Ronald McDonald House Charities help over 4 million children and their families a year.

McDonald's is the largest corporate donor. A lot of funding is received from owner/operators of local McDonald's restaurants. McDonald's conducts an annual fundraiser in November called McHappy Day. For the eighth year, McDonald's restaurants across the country will be donating $1 from the sale of select menu items sold on November 20 to Ronald McDonald House Charities. Since 2002, it has raised $150 million for RMHC and children's charities around the world.

Many McDonald’s restaurants have RMHC Donation Boxes displayed by cash registers and drive-thru windows. Your spare change quickly adds up; last year, $19 million was raised to help families in communities across the U.S. that helped open 15 new Ronald McDonald Houses! Small change CAN really make a big difference!

Starting August 16th, RMHC is going to be spreading the word throughout the on and offline grapevines to make sure people will drop off their nickels, dimes and quarters into an RMHC Donation Box in a McDonald's restaurants.

When you give money to Ronald McDonald House Charities® Canada 100% of your donation will go towards helping children in need and their families. RMHC is able to do this because McDonald's Restaurants of Canada Limited pays for a large amount of the administrative and operating costs of RMHC®.

“You play! Kids win!”, says their website.

Ronald McDonald House Charities® Canada has three annual signature events: a golf tournament and two ski challenges. The first event is a Golf Classic July 16th, 2010 at the Angus Glen Golf Club in Markham, Ontario. The other two events are the Mont Tremblant Ski Challenge in Quebec and the Whistler Ski Challenge in British Columbia.

Other Ways to Help
*Donate toys and books
*Become a volunteer
*Donate meals and snacks
*Support RMHC on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Flickr, YouTube
*Serve on committees and boards of RMHC local chapters

It has been proven that families are stronger when they are together. The Ronald McDonald House Charities make this happen by relying on our generosity.

More information is found at

For our Canadian readers click onto this site:

Have you benefitted from the Ronald McDonald House Charities?

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