By Vicki Chappelear, Program Manager, RMHC of Central Ohio
Nearly three thousand visits have already been logged by those looking for rest and recharge in The Ronald McDonald Family Room at OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital since the opening of the room in July of last year. Three-hundred seventy-six are the number of families we have served over that same time in this first Ronald McDonald Family Room opened by Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio. We have been honored to serve these families, most of whom have had a baby in the NICU at Riverside Methodist Hospital. Our Family Room space offers a respite where moms, dads, & siblings can take a few minutes to refresh and relax away from the hustle and bustle of the hospital. A snack, a shower, a recliner, even a video game or two are just a few of the things patients’ families can enjoy while in the Family Room. One of the really great things about the Family Room is that we are able to serve families right here in our local community. While families staying at the House come from afar, the majority of families who use our space at Riverside Methodist Hospital live here in Franklin County! We are delighted to be able to give back to the very community that has supported us for 36 years!
To help visitors to the Family Room, we have more than a hundred volunteers who attend to the guests’ needs every day of the year. Our volunteers present a warm inviting space and help meet the needs of families. Dedicated volunteers like Art and Karli (pictured). Art Hersey always shows up for his shift and kindly asked ONE TIME if he could take his birthday off! And Karli Schomaker is a busy mom of two who often works with Art and knows just what it takes to help parents keep kids entertained for a bit. Our volunteers not only serve families by offering towels and toiletries for a shower (862 showers so far!), laundry detergent to wash their clothes, and a listening ear, sometimes they even provide a hug! We are so grateful for our volunteers who are dedicated to caring for our families!
Our volunteers do it all for the families. We ask guests to leave comments about their experience with the Ronald McDonald Room, and here’s just a sampling of the many positive comment we get back about this valuable resource:
· “Loved the NICU family night. Glad to have the ability to bring my food to the hospital and have a space to keep it cold and heat it up. Saved me money.”
· “So thankful we had this spot to gather our thoughts and nourish ourselves during a very stressful time. Thank you.”
· “Thank you for providing this area!”
· “It was awesome to be able to sit down and talk to parents who were going through the same thing. It was calming and relaxing to talk to other parents.”
· “Thank you for providing a space for our family! Our youngest was in the NICU during flu season and our other 3 children were not allowed on the floor so they spent some time in RM area while we were passing kids off from one parent to another.”