When I was writing for Reno Moms Blog, I had the opportunity to visit the Reno Ronald McDonald House and learn about all the amazing ways it serves our community. I knew that the Ronald McDonald Houses served families who had to travel to stay with their children during extended medical treatments, but that was about the beginning and end of my knowledge. I was overwhelmed when I learned exactly what they did, and what an impact it has on our local community.
The Reno Ronald McDonald House is attached to the Renown campus and houses families who live 30 miles or more outside of Reno in their 12 bedroom home-away-from-home, mostly catering to families with babies in the NICU. The house itself is wonderful, and has all the comforts of home including a full kitchen, on-site laundry, a beautiful playroom and family room with a small library. Volunteers come in to cook homemade meals for the families so they don’t have to worry about food preparation while they care for their hospitalized children.
Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northern Nevada helps local families through their Travel for Treatment program which helps pay for travel expenses for those traveling 255 miles or more for pediatric treatment. RMHC also provides mobile health and dental care to pregnant women, and children ages 0-5 within Washoe County through their Ronald McDonald Care Mobile program.
And if that wasn’t enough, they also provide scholarships to Northern Nevada high school students in need. In 2013 they gave away a massive $101,000 in scholarships to 104 Northern Nevada high school seniors to help them achieve their dreams.
With all that they do, I was especially shocked to find out that McDonald’s doesn’t fund these programs or the house itself. In fact, McDonald’s financial contribution only accounts for 2% of RMHC’s operating budget. They rely heavily on the community to help fund all that they do.
In talking to RMHC, I learned that the cumulative impact of small donations in this community is astounding. From the change they receive from the McDonald’s donation boxes to private direct donations, even the smallest amounts add up to make a huge difference.
There are so many ways to help this great local resource and help spread a little kindness to families who truly need it. You can gather a group to cook dinner for the families through their chef program, donate some much needed items to the house, volunteer at the house, host a food drive or fundraiser, or make a monetary donation. Whatever you choose to do, your involvement and kindness matters.
My son loves going to the Reno Ronald McDonald House and donating the items they request. Every Wednesday RMHC posts items they really need through their Facebook Page and twitter under #WishListWednesday. Whenever we’re able, we go to the store, pick out the items they need for the house and drop them off as a family.
We talk about how the donations impact the families by filling a need in their lives. I let my three-year-old pick out the item at the store, bring it to the register and present it when we make the donation so he really feels involved in this act of giving. There has never been a day when he hasn’t been excited to visit the house to “help the people.” It’s a small act of kindness, but one that will hopefully set him up for a lifetime of giving when he sees a need he can fill.