Here at the Ronald McDonald House in Columbus, we’re fortunate to have the support of many organizations in the Central Ohio area. One of the comments we often get from folks who participate with groups that come to the House is how much they gain by being here. Meal groups participating in our Team Cuisine program learn new cooking tips. Cleaning groups pick up household tricks for removing tough stains. Some volunteer groups learn tips about making simple household repairs from our team of volunteer craftsmen. Beyond those more obvious gains, there’s also the reminder and appreciation for what you have and just the satisfaction of giving your time. Sharing the love just feels good to the one who is sharing. But the benefits of working at the House can have even more of an impact for special needs students who regularly come to help our House.
For these students, learning even more about life at the House helps them to grow to become their full potential. Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio partners with Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities in a program called Summer Youth Work Experiences where students get real-world work experience as they help to keep our House in tip-top shape. OOD recently produced a video which follow the work of Max, one of the students that benefits from working at the Ronald McDonald House. You can watch the video here:
Sometimes, the special needs students who come to the House also leave a positive impression on our families and their child patient. Be the One is a program that was started at Walnut Ridge High School by Dawn Heideman, a teacher in the Columbus City School District, after witnessing the impact of tragedy on a student’s life. Dawn decided that she would be the one individual to provide comfort, guidance, and encouragement to students who had experienced traumatic anger, depression, & loss in hopes that those students will be the one person to go on to make a difference in another young person’s life too. The program expanded two years ago to Linden-McKinley High School and now helps 125 students who have been through traumatic life experiences at a young age.
Several times a year, Dawn brings her students here to the Ronald McDonald House to meet families of seriously ill children and to spread joy by hanging seasonal decorations in our large dining room. Last year, her students met with a patient named Orian from Maryland staying at the House. The students and Orian developed a bond after learning that he had been bullied because of his disabilities. Inspired by the Six Word Memoir project, Be the One students were encouraged to write a book of their own experiences for Orian who has been encouraged by the book every day. Read about the Be the One’s gift of the group’s book to Orian in a blog from Six Word Memoirs by clicking here.
It’s the great pumpkin delivery, Charlie Brown! Every year at this time, staff from the Marion Correctional Institution make the hour-long drive down to our Ronald McDonald House to drop off pumpkins. Today, they donated 100 pumpkins. We allow our families to take them home, if they wish, when they check out. Sometimes, they even decorate them before they go. If there are enough, sometime volunteers & staff are also welcome to take a pumpkin home. The idea for donating the pumpkins, grown by inmates at the facility, was the idea of an instructor who taught farming to the inmates. Click the image below to watch a short video about this 15th annual donation.
Columbus, OH (SEPT 25, 2019) – In just 10 days in August, 163,000 people cast 4.4 Million votes in support of their favorite causes. As a result, 40 communities, in 21 states, including Ohio, will be getting an assist from State Farm. State Farm is proud to announce the Top 40 vote-getting causes that will each receive a $25,000 grant to improve their communities.
State Farm Neighborhood Assist is a crowd-sourced philanthropic program that empowers communities to identify issues in their neighborhoods. Non-profits affiliated with each of the top 40 causes receive grants to address them.
Through this support from the State Farm Neighborhood Assist grant, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio will have the ability to provide nearly 1,250 nights of rest to families. As one of only four charities in the state receiving money through this 2019 grant program, RMHC of Central Ohio will use these funds to help make up the difference between donations offered by families who stay at the House and the actual cost to accommodate them, in a program called “Helping Hands.”
Families are asked to contribute $20 per night; however, no family is ever turned away due to inability to pay. The actual cost to provide our services is $100 per room, per night. The average amount collected from families in 2018 was $6.99 per night due to their mounting medical bills and other financial issues. In an effort to support our families and alleviate stresses induced by their child’s illness we have established the Helping Hands Program. The Helping Hands Program helps close the gap between what families are able to donate and what it actually costs by making up the difference through a temporarily restricted fund. Funds will be released from the account according to the amount of partial paid nights and “no pay” nights for families.
“Early mornings and long days in a hospital are tiring and stressful on a family with a seriously-ill child, adding the long travel time increases this stress,” said Andrea Biada, Major Gift Officer at RMHC of Central Ohio. “For these families, staying at the Ronald McDonald House while their child is receiving treatment is a necessity.”
“State Farm is here to help life go right in neighborhoods all across the country,” said Allison Bertsche, Public Affairs Director at State Farm. “We look forward to seeing the impact these Neighborhood Assist grants will have in these 40 communities.”
Two thousand cause submissions were accepted in June at www.neighborhoodassist.com. The State Farm Review Committee selected the Top 200 finalists and public voting determined the Top 40. In the eight years of the program, more than 300 causes have received a total of $8 million to enact change in their communities. For a complete list of this year’s top 40 causes, please visit: www.neighborhoodassist.com.
We’re so honored to announce that yesterday’s inaugural Dean’s Charity Steer Show raised more than $135,000 to help keep families near their children in Columbus area hospitals. Cathann A. Kress, vice president for agricultural administration and dean of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University, along with Ohio Cattlemen’s Association and Telhio Credit Union, hosted this first-ever event benefiting Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio. The show brought together our community to celebrate agriculture and support children and their families that rely on RMHC during difficult times.
The steer show included a “sale” following the same procedures as a typical livestock sale, but without the actual transfer of livestock. Instead, all buyer sale proceeds are going to benefit RMHC of Central Ohio. The show and sale featured local celebrity exhibitors who partnered with a 4-H member and their steer. The community could also make a donation toward their favorite celebrity’s fundraising page for the event. Thanks to all of the exhibitors, the 4-H families, donors, and steer buyers for making this inaugural show a huge success! Thanks, also, to all who supported and attended the event, especially Ohio Cattlemen Association members and county affiliates, OSU extension offices, the Ohio State Fair, and to auctioneers Ron Kreis, Johnny Regula, Darby Walton and Kevin Wendt.
2019 Dean’s Charity Steer Show Winners:
Best Steer: Clark Kellogg, CBS Sports analyst, with 4-H member Sydney Sanders – Highland County Best Showmanship: Bob Peterson, public servant and eighth-generation Fayette County farmer, with 4-H member Victoria Waits – Fayette County People’s Choice Award: Adam Sharp, executive vice president, Ohio Farm Bureau, with 4-H member Sam Sutherly – Miami County.
Remaining Celebrity Exhibitors:
Cathann Kress, vice president for agricultural administration and dean of The Ohio State
University CFAES, with 4-H member Wyatt Osborn – Highland County; Matt Barnes, NBC4 morning anchor, with 4-H member Caroline Winter – Pickaway County; Mark Berven, president and chief operating officer of Nationwide Property & Casualty, with 4-H member Allison Davis – Carroll County; Bobby Carpenter, sports talk host on 97.1 The Fan, with 4-H member Kyle Kardotzke – Erie County; Jay Edwards, Athens County small business owner and real estate investor, with 4-H member Austin Pullins – Athens County; Clay Hall, sports director for ABC 6/FOX 28, with 4-H member Shala Graham – Licking County; Woody Johnson, host of “Woody and the Wake-Up Call” on WCOL-FM 92.3, with 4-H member Lauren Schulte – Putnam County; Rick Malir, chief executive officer and co-founder of City Barbeque, with 4-H member Jocelyn Belleville – Wood County; Bob McElligott, sports broadcaster for the Columbus Blue Jackets, with 4-H member McKalynne Helmke – Tuscarawas County; Shelley Meyer, former first lady of Ohio State football, with 4-H member Taylor Poff – Geauga County.
Watch Ohio Ag Net & Ohio’s Country Journal’s report on the event here:
On Wednesday, July 10, the Ronald McDonald Family Room at OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital celebrated it’s 2nd anniversary with cupcakes for visitors to the room. Families and hospital staff were invited to the family room to take part in the celebration. We invited Trish Wright, president of the Wright Ways Foundation, to the family room. She and her family had used the family room almost exactly a year ago. Trish had given birth to Chosen at the hospital and Chosen had to stay in the NICU for a few months. Her family found the family room to be just what they needed during that time. Chosen and her family came back for our celebration and to help Trish donate care bags for NICU moms on behalf of the Wright’s Way Foundation. Click the image below to hear her story.
11-year-old Ella Wintringer is a member of the Skating Club of Western New York in Buffalo, New York who frequently stays with us at the Ronald McDonald House in Columbus with her mom, Jamie. This was the second year she participated with ice skating professionals in the annual Skate It Forward show & competition at the Ice Haus at Nationwide Arena. Skate It Forward has raised nearly $100,000 over three years for RMHC! Thank you Ella and to all of the ice skating pros who took part in this year’s show! You can read a blog post about Ella written for us by her mom last year, by clicking here.
We also want to thank all of the skaters & cast members who helped make this year’s show so awesome:
Mollie Quakenbush McGrail
John M. Haferman
Correction: An earlier version of this article showed Ella as raising the total amount of nearly $100,000. Skate It Forward has raised these funds collectively over the past three years, including various other fundraisers throughout the year with hundreds of individuals and teams making contributions. Thank you all and we apologize for the confusion.
Ms. Pac Man is back in working order and back in the Ronald McDonald House, thanks to Maker Space Group member Dennis Megarry with some help from a couple of the other members too. You may remember that this group built an arcade game machine just for our House.
Megarry knew we had Ms. Pac Man in storage because it wouldn’t work and took it upon himself to fix her. Last week, he was able to deliver the rebuilt machine just in time for our Father’s Day celebration (see pictures above). We were able to bring Ms. Pac Man and the new RMHC arcade machine into our main dining room for the party.
Megarry was so excited to work on this machine, he described it this way in an email to us: “I am on such a personal high from doing this, I am sad that it is completed. Was a really fun project.. But, you still have 4 more needing repair! 🙂 I will probably wait till end of summer to start the next one, I fund these out-of-pocket so need to build my bank account back up.. lol”
Thanks again to Megarry and his group for making arcade games a fun escape for families staying at our House during such a stressful time.
You may have seen or heard of a steer auction or livestock sale at a county or state fair, or even attended one, but this one will be a little different. The Vice President for Agricultural Administration and Dean of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University, Cathann A. Kress, together with the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association and Telhio Credit Union, are hosting the first-ever Dean’s Charity Steer Show at this year’s Ohio State Fair benefiting RMHC of Central Ohio.
A website set up for this event by OSU says, “This event brings together our community to celebrate agriculture and support kids and their families that rely on RMHC during difficult times. The show and sale will feature local celebrity exhibitors partnered with a 4-H member and their steer. All funds raised will benefit the Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Central Ohio.”
The celebrity exhibitors, including such high-profile members of the community as Dean Kress, CBS Sports’ Clark Kellogg, and former “First Lady of OSU Football,” Shelley Meyer are having a friendly competition to raise donations leading up to the July 30 steer show. You can find your favorite celebrity or make a general donation at give.osu.edu/deanscharitysteershow.
The steer show will be held at 2 p.m. in the Voinovich Livestock & Trade Center at the Ohio Expo Center during the state fair on July 30. Awards will be given out for best steer, showmanship, and people’s choice. There will be a livestock “sale,” however, without the actual transfer of livestock. Instead, winning bids will go to the RMHC of Central Ohio.
As the Dean’s Charity Steer Show website asks, “Can you imagine what it’s like for a family traveling for childhood medical care? Or if you had to travel for care for your child for two or nine years? RMHC helps miracles thrive.”
Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio and Post House Creative are proud to proclaim that our short film, Something’s Missing, has won a gold Telly Award in the non-broadcast, general cause marketing category. The organizers of the 40th annual prestigious international competition announced the winners last week on a special website, www.tellyawards.com/winners. The link to the announcement about our film, specifically, can be found here: https://www.tellyawards.com/winners/2019/non-broadcast/general-cause-marketing/ronald-mcdonald-house-charities-somethings-missing/217487/
The five-minute film premiered online the night of the Academy Awards, February 24 and, just days later, won a gold Columbus ADDY award for Public Service (Film, Video, & Sound). Now, it’s being considered for an Addy award at the national level. It has been viewed more than 100,000 times on social media and, last month, was featured during the Columbus International Film & Animation Festival.
The short film, which is written, directed, edited, and produced by Post House Creative, tells the story of a family with a seriously ill child in a way that Ronald McDonald House of Central Ohio has never done before. Post House Creative created and gifted Something’s Missing to Ronald McDonald House of Central Ohio as a generous donation to promote the mission of the charity. The idea for the film was born out of a brainstorming session by our marketing & communication committee. Timothy & Kimberly Flaherty, owners of Post House Creative, are members of the committee and, once it was agreed that this visual story needed to be told, the Flahertys offered to immediately put a production together.
The Telly Awards is the premier award honoring video and television across all screens. Established in 1979, The Telly Awards receives over 12,000 entries from all 50 states and 5 continents. Entrants are judged by The Telly Awards Judging Council—an industry body of over 200 leading experts including advertising agencies, production companies, and major television networks, reflective of the multi-screen industry The Telly Awards celebrates.
Congratulations to Post House Creative!
Q: Who are you guys?
A: We are a group of people that have worked together in the past and remained friends after we moved on to other jobs. We all decided to form a Maker Space Group and chose the name, Solid State Social Club. Our goal is to teach kids, teens and adults about technology and wood working. Wood working for geeks is CNC, we program the computer and the machine cuts out the parts for us.
The people involved with this project and current employer are:
Dennis Megarry – StateAuto Insurance
Tyler Wickiser – StateAuto Insurance
Josh Hamilton – StateAuto Insurance
Johan Van Zijl – Chase
Robert “Downtown Bob” – CoverMyMeds
Q: How did your group start a relationship with our Ronald McDonald House?
A: Robert was on a tour of the House after cooking a lunch meal for CoverMyMeds when he spotted the Game Room there with non-working arcade machines. Since I was already into building arcade gaming machines & Johan into repairing them, we decided this was a great start to our maker group. So we contacted Joel (the House facilities supervisor) and came down to diagnose the issues with the units there already. We were able to repair the pinball machine, and while we can repair the rest, we fund this out-of-pocket so plan to continue as soon as funds become available.
Q: What made you guys decide to do this? Have you done this kind of thing before?
A: I was already making custom arcade machines and Johan was repairing cabinets, so it was a great fit for us. Given how much RMHC benefits the community and children, we all jumped at the chance to help out.
Q: How was it all paid for? Do you have an approximate value of the machine?
A: This was all my personal donation. I bulk buy parts and usually have enough to build a few machines on hand so the expense of this was drawn out over the course of a year prior to this build. We all have families to support as well, so for the moment while we grow, we can only do things like this as we save up the funds. I build custom arcade cabinets for corporate clients who have an employee game room setup, as well as individual people. No two cabinets are alike so putting a cost on one is difficult to do. Depending on options, we’ve made them from $2700 to more than $4000. If we built yours for a customer, it would have been about $3000.
Q: What was involved in making it? Where was it assembled?
A: Making things like this is how I relax after a day in front of the computer at work. It is a lot of fun. Since our group is just starting out, we do not have space to setup shop so it was made and built in my garage (my garage is rather large).
This build though was extra special for us. Lynne Holmes, the graphic designer at the Ronald McDonald House, created the graphics for us. To finish the cabinet, our respective employers gave us each a paid day off through charity volunteering-for-a-day programs. So we need to give a big thank you to StateAuto, Chase, and CoverMyMeds! It wasn’t just us that were involved in this project.
Q: Does it have more than one game?
A: When we build one of these, the insides can go from inexpensive to OMG! Just depends of what people want. For corporate builds, as well as this one, we chose a commercial board which is pre-loaded with games that we bought off of Amazon. It has a lot of the ones adults grew up with such as: Galaga, PacMan, Street Fighter, TMNT, Asteroids, Super Mario, Tetris and many others.. There are more than 2,100 games on this board.
Q: Joel says you’re also repairing our other arcade games?
A: Yes, as funds allow we will be repairing all the machines there. The Ms. PacMan, for instance, has a blown transformer. But rather than just replacing it, the cabinet is in bad shape as well so we will most likely make a new cabinet for it, reprint the original graphics and when finished, it will be as good as new, or better.
Q: Do you have a message for the families that will be using this machine and the others you repair?
A: We built the arcade hoping that it brings a little joy to people when going thru a difficult time in their lives.