Thursday, July 7, 2011

Making Families McHappy

Crafty is a reader. She constantly has her nose in a book and, heaven forbid, she forgets to take a book with us when we go out, she'll read anything she can get her eyes on. While we're driving around Crafty is always asking us to explain what that sign means or what this word is. Sometimes those questions can be a little awkward, like when we're downtown at the doctor's office and certain boutique that is not very discreet is right next door, but other times Crafty's questions lead to great conversations.

This Spring when we were making one of our many dashes into the city we took the kids through McDonald's drive through. As we were waiting in the line to get our food, Crafty noticed a sign that advertised the upcoming McHappy Day and of course she asked what that was all about. We explained what Ronald McDonald House did for families and she said 'cool' and ate her supper.

Months later when we started discussing our Random Acts of Service Project Ronald McDonald House came up in the conversation again. As we discussed the support that this charity gives to families, Crafty got a little teary. When I asked her what was wrong she sniffled and said, "Those moms and dads must be so worried! I want to help them too." So she is. Crafty chose Ronald McDonald House Manitoba to support and here's why in her own words ...

Ronald McDonald House is for families who have to go away from home to take their kids to a hospital. Lots of times kids get sick or hurt and they either don't have a hospital close to home or not there's not the right kind of doctors at home to help them so they might have to travel kind of a long way to get help for their kids. I think it must be scary to have a kid that is so sick, there must be a lot of things to think about especially if you have to travel to a strange city.

Ronald McDonald House helps parents to not worry about finding a place to stay or paying for a hotel when they have to bring their kids to the hospital. Families can make their own meals and relax while they are still close to the hospital. It makes it easier for them to visit their kids whenever they want. The one in Manitoba can fit up to 14 families at one time. It must be a pretty big house. The House even has a van for the families to use so its easier to get groceries and do other errands. The people who run the house like to have movies and games and toys for the brothers and sisters who stay there too. People can also donate tickets to movies or sports games so the families have something to look forward to.

I chose Ronald McDonald House because they help families. Families must feel pretty worried when their kids get sick and Ronald McDonald House helps to take some of their worries away by giving them a place to stay that is really close to the hospital.  We're going to make some jewelery to sell and probably do a pancake breakfast too. I hope that I can help families to feel a little bit better while they are waiting for their kids to get a lot better.

Aside from the 12 houses that Ronald McDonald Charities Canada sponsors they have also established Ronald McDonald Family Rooms in three hospitals to ensure that families with serious ill children have a place to relax, refresh and wait to hear good news about their child. By 2014, ten of the houses will be undergoing renovations or rebuilds that will bring the total room count from 217 to 478, more than doubling their capacity to support families of sick children. Because McDonald's Restaurants of Canada covers all administration costs for this foundation, 100% of donations received goes directly to Ronald McDonald Houses and their programs.

The House in Manitoba is located just five minutes away from The Children's Hospital and provides a place of comfort and compassion for more than 550 families each year, with more than 100 families on the waiting list at any given time. The Family Room in The Winnipeg's Children's Hospital is the largest room of its kind in the world. With more than 3,500 feet, this space offers a place to rest, clean up and keep in touch. It has Internet access, laundry facilities and a washroom with showers as well as three sleeping rooms. This room is open to any family with a patient at The Children's Hospital, no referral necessary.

For more information or to donate to Ronald McDonald House Charities please check out their website or go directly to RMH Manitoba for more information on the House in Winnipeg.

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