By Megan Koester
Those little copper pennies, silver nickels, and quarters collect – in our pockets, our cars and the change containers on our dressers. All of those coins add up and can make a significant impact in the lives of others.
40 years ago, it was change collected at McDonald’s that provided the support to build the first Ronald McDonald House in Philadelphia. For 40 years people have been giving their change to bring families closer together when they need it most. Today there are 337 Ronald McDonald Houses in 35 different countries – that is a lot of change. Last year, the Donation Box Program raised more than $28 million in the United States! The impact of each and every penny is beyond measure. The ability to bring a family together when a child is in the hospital is life changing for the child and their family. We know that healing happens when families are together, and the ability to stay without a monetary commitment allows families to rest and rejuvenate while being just steps away from their child.
Every day when people walk into the Ronald McDonald House they are changed by their experience. Families were changed the minute their child was admitted to the hospital and now they are finding the resources they need to be strong for their child. Their priorities, daily routines and emotions have all changed to cope with their new surroundings. Volunteers walk through the doors of the House each day because they have been changed by the strength and compassion they have garnered from families. Community supporters walk through the doors of the house and change the levels of opportunities for families by adding spaces and experiences that enhance a family’s stay. Each and every day staff creates an atmosphere that accepts and welcomes change – they provide the family support networks and operational structure to care for families in their greatest time of need.
Today, you can continue to be an advocate for change by participating in RMHC Day of Change. Simply drop your spare change in the donation box at McDonald’s restaurant. Those coins will join millions of others that have grown this charity and fulfilled a need for families to be with their hospitalized children. Please join us in celebrating 40 years of support from McDonald’s and the community and help us continue to strengthen the Ronald McDonald House for years to come.
My son was in the ICU at Nationwide Children’s Hospital for eight days. This time was extremely stressful for my husband and me. When we came to the hospital, we had nothing with us, not even a toothbrush. In fact, I was still in my work uniform. We stayed in the hospital room with our son for the first night and barely slept. By morning, we were both a nervous wreck. Our nerves were so shot, my husband and I started to argue. Then a social worker told us we could go to the Ronald McDonald House to take a little break, but I was hesitant. I did not want to leave my son, but I knew I needed some time away to pull myself together to see to his care. We decided to give the Columbus Ronald McDonald House a try.
The beds were so comfortable, it was impossible not to get a decent night of sleep at the Ronald McDonald House. After one night, I was able to think more clearly. However, the best part was that volunteers provided free meals. In the first day and a half, we spend $40 on drinks and food. We felt miserable eating vending machine food and living on pop and coffee. I cannot imagine what we would have spent in eight days. We would have been totally broke!
It is heartwarming to know that with all of the entitlement in our society, there are still people who give of themselves with no thoughts about monetary rewards. As a former McDonald’s employee, I remember the convenient change boxes at the register for Ronald McDonald House Charities, and how I would put my change in the boxes. I had always hoped it was being put to good use, but I never expected to find out first hand. I am so thankful and grateful Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio is here. This is exactly what the world needs. This is exactly what we needed! Thank you, RMHC!
Jonathan and Elizabeth