It’s been a tough past four months trying to keep the world’s largest Ronald McDonald House operating. Of course, the challenges we’ve faced keeping our rooms available for our guests, pails in comparison to the real struggle our families are going through so their young patients can get the care they need. We’ve managed to keep the families that stay here relatively comfortable through the pandemic. It’s no small duty considering we usually keep the House going with hundreds of regularly scheduled volunteers and volunteer groups. Just before the pandemic struck our state, we started a 10,000-foot garden. A concept that came from volunteers with the idea that volunteer groups could tend to the garden on a regular basis. It’s not been the same at our House since we had to stop our large scale scheduling of volunteers. In addition to meal groups. fundraiser event groups, & family activity groups, we often put volunteers to work organizing and storing donations. Volunteers with groups often express how much they learn about our mission and how that new understanding gives them motivation to do more.
Several months ago, Noelle Meeker, a senior at Olentangy Liberty High School, volunteered at the House with DECA , a student organization that trains young people to be future leaders and entrepreneurs. It’s the experience she had volunteering at our House, that Meeker points to when She says she was struck by what she saw inside our House when she volunteered with a group. The experience led her to appreciate why housing families near their hospitalized children isn’t just more convenient, it’s necessary for the patient to make improvements. Meeker credits her experience at our Ronald McDonlad House in garnering the Branch Insurance Strength in Community Service Award earlier this month.
We hope, one day in the near future, to welcome large volunteer groups back to the House so more people can be touched by the experience of helping our House.