" I have always enjoyed going to my grandma's house. When I was really little, it meant time spent with her and my cousins. Oftentimes we'd go to the drive through at McDonald's to get happy meals. We'd eat our food in her backyard at the picnic table. My older cousin always snagged bites of grandma's fish sandwich.
Grandma's house was also where I could drink a can of pop and eat cookies that were stored in her oven. After drinking my pop, I always got to pull the tab off and place it into a little paper house that set on her countertop. I noticed the "M" logo from McDonald's on it, but I really didn't know the significance.
Unbeknownst to my grandma, she was actually investing into her granddaughter, future grandson in law and future great granddaughter's lives. The little house which held pop tabs were collected and given to the local Ronald McDonald House. The very place we stayed at while our baby was in the NICU.
I've found that unless a person has had to utilize their facilities, many people are unaware of all the good they do in families lives. At the first Ronald McDonald House we stayed at, we had our own room and bathroom. There was always food in the pantry and refrigerators available at any time for any of the tenants. We had access to a laundry room within the facility and dinners were provided (typically cooked by families, organizations or companies).
We stayed at a total of four different Ronald McDonald Houses, within three different cities over the course of 287 days. Can you imagine paying for a hotel and fast food every day for 287 days? Fortunately we were blessed with having our needs met by the Ronald McDonald House.
On holidays, which we spent several there, the staff worked really hard to make it special for us. There were typically gifts outside our door, special meals and decorations. Although it wasn't home, it made things a little better.
The Ronald McDonald House didn't ask me to write about them. But I'm choosing to, in hopes of giving back. Eventually, I'd like to go back and help make meals for other families. For now, though, I can share a couple of ways that anyone can get involved and help:
-Save those pop tabs!
Just like my grandma still does, pop tabs seem insignificant, but when many are collected, it's actually a way that the Ronald McDonald House raises money to support families in a time of greatest need.
-Check out your local Ronald McDonald House Facebook page: there they typically post items they need for families on a weekly basis. It could be something as simple as dish soap or snacks that could be dropped off.
-Provide a meal!
The first several months of our NICU stay were pre-Covid. Families and groups of friends would come in and make the meal for the families. Once Covid hit, meals were then catered in.
-Order a shamrock shake!
A portion of the sales of shamrock shakes go to your local Ronald McDonald House! "
Written by Brittany Skinner, author of Everyday Grace
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