As many of you may remember, we spent nearly a month at the Ronald McDonald House at the hospital that Baby C was born at. I have no idea what we would have done while she still needed the NICU if we didn’t have RMH to stay at!
You can read about that stay HERE.
And less than four months later we found ourselves at our hometown San Diego Ronald McDonald House at Rady Children’s Hospital when we stayed for Baby C’s heart surgery. In case you missed that post – you can read about it HERE.
We only live about an hour from Rady. I guess we could have driven back and forth a couple times a day or taken shifts. But it was awesome to have a home away from home. We were able to be only 10 minutes away at any given time. Rady does allow a parent to sleep in the room with a child (at least in her section of PICU), but let’s just say the parent that would have a sleep over never really got any sleep. It was also a HUGE blessing to have the option of eating a meal with other RMH residents every weekday for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Several companies and churches in the community came to make dinner, and I cannot tell you what a blessing that is. When you have sat by a hospital bed all day, the last thing you want to do is go out for dinner, cook dinner, or eat at the hospital cafeteria! We had a few friends who were kind enough to set up a meal list for when we came home and also sent us gift cards to inexpensive restaurants while we were at the hospital. This was awesome for the weekends when RMH does not serve meals, but those who might not have friends that are quite so organized – RMH has a HUGE food pantry that is free for any guest to cook from.
It was really nice to sit in the community dining room and eat carne asada or lasagna (or whatever their specialty) prepared by a volunteer! Nobody has to prove a certain income to take advantage of the RMH, many of the people there could afford to buy food out if they needed to, but I think the point is more that they are helping make the lives of families a little easier when their kiddos are sick.
At the end of your stay you are asked to pay what you can, with a suggestion of $15 a night. It would have cost more than that to drive back and forth from our house! Everyone pretty much knows how they keep growing – the good folks at McDonalds as well as many, many other sponsors. Say what you will about McDonalds food (in all honesty it is only a VERY special treat for our kids – maybe once every month or two), they provide an incredible blessing to thousands and thousands of families all over the world with this charity.
We were told that before the RMH was built families would sleep in the waiting room or in their car. Many kids are long time residents of these hospitals and many are from several cities, states, or even countries away! I have no idea how our family would be able to stay in a hotel for months at a time – there is no way.
I’ve said it before – this is one of those charities that just about anyone may need at some time. It is such a simple concept and so easy to support. If you do eat at McDonalds, please remember to drop some money in those little donation jars. You can also donate food, toys, time, or other resources to the Ronald McDonald House in your area. There are also opportunities to donate to several fundraisers each year. I would ask you to consider donating! I know I ask this often – but I think that if we are all here saving money it is REALLY important to take it to the next level and share those extras with others. This is a charity that we support and we hope you will consider it too!
We thank the Ronald McDonald House for having us!