By: Richard Shepherd
“Where can we get something to eat?” “How far is it to the hospital?” “Where do we park our car?” These are just some of the many kinds of questions we Family Services Managers get throughout the year from parents and other family members as they arrive to stay at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio. I, along with my colleagues Kelley, Courtney, & Alyssa work the “rush hour” time-frames of check-ins and check-outs at this, the largest (and as I say, “…therefore, the busiest…”) Ronald McDonald House in the world. And it’s our pleasure to help them settle in or get on their way, in any way we can.
Besides these sorts of “nuts & bolts” kinds of questions, we get many other questions too. Hopefully, we have the answers to most. If not, we can usually find them. It’s all part of trying to make the family’s stay here as comfortable and as stress-free as possible while, at the same time, keeping families as safe as possible. We can all sympathize with having some stress during the holidays, but most of us can be thankful we don’t have the added stress of a child having to go to a hospital hours away from home at the same time… let alone just having to be stuck out of town instead of being home for the holidays. That’s why, this time of year, it’s especially important for us to try to help families stay together and make it through a tough time during a season that can sometimes come with higher expectations of a traditional holiday season.
And that’s where you come in. By “you”, I mean you, our extended Ronald McDonald House family…our community. We Family Service Managers can lend an ear, answer simple questions, get folks in their room, help them with the TV, point them to the nearest pharmacy, or tell them when the next shuttle to the hospital will arrive, or even make sure the kids have an activity to help make the time away from home a little more bearable. But it’s your donations that really help us do our jobs. Donations like time. Hundreds of volunteers who spend hours with us running around the house restocking rooms, cleaning the dining room, preparing the meals, organizing the housekeeping rooms, doing the house laundry, and refilling the coffee. It’s your donations of supplies such as paper products (TP to paper towels), various toiletries and toothbrushes that we can offer families while they’re here and the monetary donations that keep us going. This biggest RMHC House gets bills just like your house… just much bigger.
So, on behalf of all the Family Services Managers, let me thank all of you this holiday season for all YOU do throughout the year to support us in what we do. Your support allows us to answer the every-day questions that may seem simple, but which turn tougher when away from home for an extended period. That mom’s question, “Where do I get laundry detergent to do a load of laundry?” couldn’t be answered as happily without your donation of laundry soap. And during this time of the year, Dad’s question of, “How am I supposed to find the time to shop for Christmas gifts with him in the hospital?” wouldn’t be as easy to answer without those brand new toys donated throughout the year. It’s because of all your donations of time, money, and items that we’ve been able to answer questions positively over the past year and, thanks to your continued support, into the New Year!