When LJ and I were offered the opportunity to participate in a CFK Service Project, I knew right away who should be the recipient of our service. Those of you who have been long time readers may remember this story from a few years ago. I’ll give a brief summary for you newer folks. When LJ was in 5K, he had a fainting episode at school and was brought to Children’s Hospital via ambulance. (You can read the longer version of the story here.) We were so grateful for the amazing care he received from the time the ambulance showed up, at the ER and all the way through his follow up appointments with the doctors at Children’s.
We will always have a warm spot in our hearts for Children’s and love to find ways to show our support and gratitude. Just off the grounds a bit is the Ronald McDonald House of Milwaukee. This fabulous organization is there to support families whose lives have been disrupted due to their child’s illness or injury. We are blessed to have Children’s in our backyard, and can easily travel home at night if we need to. Many families come to Children’s from all over the country and need a place to stay while they are here. The Ronald McDonald House provides them with a comfortable, supportive place to stay at a small fraction of the cost of a hotel. No one is ever turned away for their inability to pay.
When I was living in NH, a friend gave birth to her baby very prematurely while on vacation in Florida. She had to stay in Orlando until her baby was strong enough to travel home which wound up being over 3 months long. During that time, she stayed at the Ronald McDonald House in Florida and I have always remembered how much that meant to her.
There are many ways to support the Ronald McDonald House of Milwaukee. When I had my classroom, the kids used to bring in pop-tabs from soda cans and we collected a ton to drop off. (I believe they are able to recycle them for cash.) There are also local events – dinners, golf outings, etc – that you can participate in to support the Ronald McDonald House as well. And, of course, they take donations.
I had originally envisioned putting together a little welcome kit with a book, a musical Spinbrush, a stuffed animal and some things to keep the family occupied like puzzles or games. When I spoke to someone at the Ronald McDonald House, they explained that they have to be very careful with what they accept as donations. What they were really in need of, she told me, was travel sized personal care items like toothpaste, shampoo, and deodorant as well as some basic household-type items, and they prefer not to have stuffed animals dropped off.
LJ and I let people know what we were doing and had a few extra donated dollars to pick up supplies. To stretch our money as far as it would go, we headed to Walmart. (You can check out our whole shopping trip here.) We picked out some Arm & Hammer Spinbrushes. After a LOT of thought, LJ picked a bunch that played music, a few that kids could decorate themselves, and even a few for the parents.
Next we headed to the travel size section. There we found everything on our list – shampoos, deodorants, toothpaste, you name it.
We also grabbed some batteries and applesauce, as both were listed on the wishlist of needed items.
We’ve got everything boxed up and ready to be dropped off at the Ronald McDonald House. We collected 75 items to donate!! Thank you to all our friends and family who helped out. And I’m am so thankful to Arm & Hammer for giving us this opportunity to give back to an organization that we believe in so strongly!!