All of us have seen them. We give them a quick glance, and then look up at the menu ignoring the message they are sending. Please stop ignoring the coin box.
If you are looking for a trustworthy charity, look no farther than your local McDonald’s. The Ronald McDonald House is incredible and so much needed and appreciated. We both know this because of our own experiences…one a little over 15 years ago. The other, a little over 15 hours ago.
The play area at the RMH is filled with toys and movies and games for all to use. The pantry is stocked full of breakfast options along with snacks available to all family members of the child who is in the NICU or the hospital. The refrigerator has beverages and milk and coffee creamer and apple slices galore. Volunteers come in and prepare and then serve a delicious homemade lunch or supper for those family members who wait. And then there are the rooms equipped with beds so the family can rest their weary and worn out bodies at night time. Incredible place.
Years ago, I (Wendy) had my third graders save pop tabs for the Ronald McDonald House. Our goal was one million. We made it to 600,000. Once those were collected, my third graders traveled to Sioux Falls, SD and personally delivered them to the Ronald McDonald House.
Sadly, since then I haven’t given the Ronald McDonald House much thought. But after recently being a visitor at the house while visiting my granddaughter at Children’s Hospital, I have decided that I will never ignore those coin boxes again. And, I will be saving pop tabs from here on out too!
It was April 2002. I (Sonya) was going to be a new momma in the summer. I couldn’t wait! Neither could my babe, Jackson Joseph, apparently. I won’t share the long story with all the twists and turns to the plot, but after six weeks of bedrest in the hospital, I was set free – to stay at the Ronald McDonald House in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. We were cleared to leave the hospital, but needed to remain close by so RMH welcomed us. I spent two weeks there and then the day that I went home – Jackson decided to officially join us and was born. Those two weeks in the RMH were a blessing for us. As soon-to-be new parents, it was a stressful time. We were able to stay there for a minimal fee while safely within the city limits and near the hospital care that was needed. It was a bit unusual since the house is designated for families with children in the hospital. A room was open, and we were welcomed. We are still thankful today.
Then, we were welcomed once again at the RMH in Minneapolis when Jackson was undergoing treatments for his lymphangioma from ages 1-2. We were thankful yet again and still are today!
When I returned from maternity leave, I set out to give back. My 5th grade class started to do more community-focused projects. My experience at RMH helped me to see more needs around me. I began to wonder how could I help? How could we help? An obvious project was to start collecting pop-tabs, which became a school-wide project. We were able to make one of the deliveries while on a field trip so the students could see the house. From there the project grew into other projects, and students became more involved.
Becoming a parent made me a better teacher and a better citizen. I was engaged in this world because someone else was counting on me. I became more engaged in this world because someone helped me. Thanks, Ronald McDonald House and all the donators along the way. We began to Pay It Forward…
Ronald McDonald House in Sioux Falls, SD
The Ronald McDonald House offers support to parents during one of their most stressful times in life. So we ask you, please take a moment to pay it forward today. Don’t wait until tomorrow. Do something for someone else today.
Stop ignoring those coin boxes.