I wanted to share about a important organization that I am sure most of you, if not all have heard of; It is the Ronald McDonald House. How many times have you seen the little collection jars at McDonald’s asking for donations for the non-profit organization? They are so easy to just ignore, for yeah the picture of the little kid or kids on the jar is cute, but it doesn’t really affect you. You don’t really know what its all about, except to help sick children. Here is the story behind those collection jars.
The first Ronald McDonald House was open in Philadelphia in 1974. It all started due to one very sick little 3 year old girl. She had leukemia and she was the daughter of a Philadelphia Eagles Football player. His wife and him spent nights trying to sleep on chairs in the waiting room and living off food from the vending machine and hospital cafeteria. They weren’t alone, plenty of other parents were in the same boat. Not having money for the large bill that a long stay at a hotel would be, they stayed in the hospital waiting room. For see, these parents weren’t local, they had to come to a special hospital to meet the needs of their sick children. Mr.Hill, the Dad, knew that something had to be done and he talked to the Eagles manager about it. The manager agreed with Mr.Hill that there was a definite need for parents of sick children and went to his friend who happened to be the Regional Manager of McDonalds. He in turn organized a fundraising promotion, introducing the St.Patrick’s Day Green milkshake! Now known today as the Shamrock Shake! Another reason to LOVE the Shamrock shake! The funds raised went towards buying a old house near the hospital to be renovated to become the first Ronald McDonald House. By 1979 10 more houses were built in different states and it just kept booming. There are now 322 houses in 57 countries, offering 7,200 rooms to families free of charge!
The RMH offers a place of rest and peace for families who are dealing with stressful situations, due to their child’s illness. The families have cozy beds to sleep on, comfortable couches to sit on and meals prepared for them. It is a great gift, a gift that you only really realize the value in once you experience it. It’s a place where families from different places gather, all connected by something they can’t control. Connected by the pain that a child’s serious illness brings. Not only does the RMH provide a place to sleep and eat, it provides entertainment. Pet therapy dogs come to visit, wide screen tv’s and DVD players are available and a play room for the little kids. Area attractions provide RMH with free tickets for families that are staying at the house, for they know that that these families need a break in the stress of Dr.appointments and hospital visits,etc.
Yes, years ago Mr.Hill had a great idea, he shared his dream with others and a brilliant idea was born! I hope that by reading this post that next time you see a collection jar, you won’t just ignore it. That when you hear about Ronald McDonald House charities it will strike a chord in your heart. My other hope is that if you have a great idea, don’t just say it can’t be done. Persevere and you never know, your “RMH” could be born!