Our House is Their Home
We’re all in this together, and at the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland we’ve made a lot of changes in order to provide comfort to families during an already-stressful time, while keeping them as safe as possible from the new threat of coronavirus.
We have ourselves also found comfort in each other and all of the members of our Ronald McDonald House Family, near and far. Here, we share some of the things that continue to keep our House a home, our family together, and ourselves inspired.
Much like a fancy hotel, families now order their meals and specify a delivery time. Food is prepared by RMH staff with an abundance of caution and individual meals are carefully packaged for delivery to each room. This has spurred our kitchen crew to come up with new ways to bring joy to our families. An ice cream cart has been making the rounds, and it was very sweet indeed when our staff delivered an activity and treat in one with personal cookie-decorating kits for everyone at the House.
During the long evenings away from home, our families normally rely on volunteers and each other for entertainment and support. People gather in the common areas and kids play with each other and the many available toys. Now that families need to remain in their private rooms and on-site volunteer activity has been suspended, our stock of toys has really come in handy! Usually used for holidays and special occasions like birthdays, we had plenty of new, in-package toys to help keep the little ones at the House entertained in their rooms. Puzzles, games, art supplies and other items have been distributed to all of our families to help pass the time.
Developing New Skills and Friendships
Without our volunteers, staff members have stepped up to fill in a variety of roles at the House. Front desk, laundry, kitchen and maintenance duties have all been covered in shifts by staff from our temporarily suspended Community Programs and other areas. This has given employees from different areas the opportunity to work together (from a safe distance), while getting a better understanding of the vital contributions of our volunteers. Database Manager Kristen Swinton has been helping out in the kitchen and gives this perspective:
“With so much that is uncertain each day, it feels good to have a simple task to do, like scoop pasta salad into individual cups or wrap sandwiches. It’s given me something tangible that I can contribute to bringing some good in the midst of the crisis.
It’s strange to walk through the empty house and it’s easy to forget how many families we still have staying with us. Mostly they are spending their time in their rooms or at the hospital and are practicing good social distancing when they aren’t. I can’t imagine the stress they were all already under with whatever medical issues they were facing and now they have to worry about this on top of all of that.”
We have often said that without our volunteers we simply could not do what we do for families. We never imagined that would be put to the test. And while we are managing one day at a time, we are not doing it without the continuing encouragement and support from individuals and groups alike. Many have sent encouraging notes, contributed to our meal program and shared information on social media.
But somewhere along the way, my fellow volunteers and I, WE have become a FAMILY and you can’t imagine how much I miss you ALL!
You are in my prayers.”
We Can Do This Together
The list of those who are helping us through this uncertain time is long and we are uplifted daily by the contributions of our Ronald McDonald House community. We are grateful for every single letter, social media post and donation, no matter how big or small. We look forward to the time when we can share face-to-face; in the meantime, here is one of the inspiring messages we’ve received:
“Our son is stable right now and we pray that remains the case. I just wanted to reach out to thank you for still being there for the other families we have met and for keeping us up to date on your happenings. Please pass along our gratitude to your staff and know that you are all in our prayers!”
— The Murphy family, recent guests at the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland