Charity Spotlight: Ronald McDonald House

Ronald McDonald House of Orange County

Photo courtesy of DandelionMoms.com

Local charities can say a lot about the communities in which they are found; each addresses an unique need, in an unique way. The Orange County Ronald McDonald House is no exception. The Ronald McDonald House program was born Philadelphia, a response to the clear need for a home away from home for families of ill children to rest and recuperate from their daily battles.

In 1974, Philadelphia Eagles football player Frank Hill and his wife, spent three years sleeping anywhere they could – whether in a cramped bench seat, or a lonely corner, constantly enveloped in unpleasant hospital sounds and smells. Hill, having watched others go through the same scenario, worked with the Eagles, and then McDonald’s, to successfully fundraise for and create the first Ronald McDonald House. Families could now find a home where they could sleep comfortably, and find relief from the stressful and emotionally draining hospital atmosphere.  As a part of the greater Ronald McDonald House network, the Orange County chapter brings its own individuality to its partner hospital, Children’s Hospital Orange County (CHOC).

The Orange County chapter has been open since 1989.  The Orange County house has been strategically created to best suit the needs of those under such emotional strain. The 20 bedroom house is full of soothing colors, insulated walls, and has rounded instead of sharp corners. The house not only offers a place for families, but has an unique addition: a cost-free, medically supervised camp for children with cancer and their families, Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times. As doctors at CHOC work to give children the most effective treatment possible, Camp Ronald McDonald and the Ronald McDonald House provide comfort and the ability to maintain family connections and mental health. The charity has also extended in providing two Ronald McDonald Family Rooms in area hospitals.

Many Orange County families, those we run into at the grocery store, celebrate with throughout the year, and bond with over t-ball games and class barbecues, are daily affected by the good provided by the Ronald McDonald House. The Korda family is one such family; parents Noah and Melissa rushed their daughter Sadie to the hospital after she started having seizures. The Kordas needed somewhere to stay, and found themselves at the Ronald McDonald House, allowing them one less thing to worry about and the ability to completely focus on Sadie’s well-being.

In a community dedicated to the family and the home, the Ronald McDonald House is at the forefront of efforts to give stability to families who have lost so much in the wake of childhood illness and tragedy. The Ronald McDonald House relies heavily on the Orange County community to function, on both volunteers and donations. Volunteers at the House range from the individual, to the group, to the corporate. Volunteers have the opportunity to help through light housekeeping and administrative tasks, provision of meals, special services, or daily activities for families. To learn more about volunteering, look here. The House also takes both monetary donations, vehicle donations, pop tab collections. Look into donating here. Or, take part in the Adopt a Room program; your funding will sponsor the families who stay in one of the 20 rooms or one of the two Family Rooms.

Orange County Ronald McDonald House is something we as a community can take pride in. How have you been affected by the good works of charities like the Ronald McDonald House– whether directly or through volunteering and donating? Share the good deeds and purposes of your favorite local charities with us: we would love to feature them next!

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