By Lena Crider

February is related to two things – being the coldest month of the year and Valentine’s Day.  Because you can feel the effects of February’s subzero wintry temperatures, I will write my first blog about the later.  That topic is obviously more warm and fuzzy!

Valentine’s Day!  It’s a day to appreciate those we love and shower them with gifts of flowers, chocolates, clothes (fun socks are my favorite), or jewelry.  Some may find themselves at an exquisite restaurant sharing a nice bottle of wine to pair perfectly with their dinner. Or, for me, I like the practical and simple – spending time at home with my kiddo and husband-soaking up the smiles and laughter.

At the Ronald McDonald House of Central Ohio, it’s Valentine’s Day 365 days of the year.  On my first day in my new position I felt nothing but LOVE! There is a sense of kindness in the volunteers, an affection from the staff and comfort in the families because of the love they feel in the House.

Wall decor shows the words family, home & love.
Large Scrabble pieces on a second floor wall describe what the House is all about.

The staff at RMHC greeted me with warm smiles and welcome notes, sharing how grateful they were to have me! A Tervis sat on my desk that read, “Share the LOVE”!  Throughout the hallways of the House there are signs that have such comforting phrases as, “Life takes you to unexpected places, Love brings you Home.” My favorite place in the House (right now), is at the end of a hallway, where a set of large scrabble tiles spell out the words, “FAMILY, HOME, LOVE”, next to a comfy chair with a fluffy pillow.

The people who fill the House, take extra special care of each other. Volunteer groups come in and prepare meals, baked goods, and prepare activities for the families.  For example, the Banner Lady, (this is how she refers to herself), brings in cut-out shapes and letters which she spreads across two tables for families to construct banners. These brighten up their patients’ hospital rooms or their own rooms here at the House. The banners hang with as much love as was put into making them. Generous donors make contributions allowing for families to wash their clothes, sleep in a comfy beds, have running water for a shower, access computers, or enjoy the piece of the outdoor garden.

There are so many other expressions of Love that I could tell you about, but I invite you in to visit the House and see that LOVE in action for yourself. Come see the smiles, come see the gestures of kindness, come see families giving other families comfort sharing their experiences & challenges.

The Ronald McDonald House has always had a special place in my heart and in my first few days as a team member, it has become a whole new level of special to me!  Ronald McDonald House Charities, truly does keep families together and Valentine’s Day happens 365 days-a-year here!

Editor’s note: Lena Crider joined the RMHC crew in Columbus as a Major Gift Officer just last week. To arrange for a tour, Call Lena at 614-227-6030.