During a casual lunch with two of my very good friends we began to discuss how we can give back to our community. We are often just hanging out having meals or painting pottery but we wanted to do more together so we began to think where we could volunteer.
The Ronald McDonald House (RMDH) offers families with sick children a place to stay for a donation of 5.00 if they are able- often this families are not from the St. Louis area so they need lodging. Many families travel far from home to get treatment for their seriously ill or injured children. The RMDH relies on volunteer groups to make breakfast and dinner for the families staying in the house. Often the families are only at the house to have meals the rest of time is spent at the hospital.
My friends and I value family very much (both my friends Meagan and Casey are like family to me), volunteering at RMDH was a way to give back to organization that realizes family is an important part of treatment. And, for children facing a serious medical crisis, nothing seems scarier than not having their mom and dad or other extended family close by for love and support. Having place to go that allows families to take a break as well is important, often families have other children that still need attention. The stress of illness can cause extreme emotional stress or even divide a family. The RMDH is cheery and every where you look you see inspirational quotes. The RMDH house is not only a place to sleep it’s a support system which allows them to face the weight of illness together and to focus on the health of their child, rather than grocery shopping, cleaning or cooking meals.
We decided to do a taco bar for our meal. Everyone was so appreciative of us coming and we were thrilled to be giving back. All the families were very kind and wanted to share stories and photos of their kids both before they got sick and after. It was hard to hear how one minute a kid is of full of life then he is in a coma. I wish we didn’t need the house that kids weren’t sick but I don’t have that kind of power. It felt great to give back and to be doing it with the people that are like family to me. My mom and Meagan’s mom both joined us to help with the meal which made it even more special. There were laughs and heartbreaking moments but we realized this is something we want to keep doing. There are a total of 3 RMDH’s in the St. Louis area and each needs volunteers. The worker at the RMDH house told us they have trouble getting volunteers on holidays which got us to thinking we may need to start a new volunteer holiday tradition.