It was Christmas time and we wanted to teach our kids the beauty and value of giving freely and so my sister-in-law and I, then the room moms in our kids' second grade class, started searching for a local charity the children could adopt for the season. We researched homeless shelters. We looked into group homes. We even considered playing Secret Santa to some kids who'd left wishes on the Angel Tree at our local mall.
But it was an earnest and heartfelt tap on the shoulder from one of our class teaching assistants that made plain we needed to put The Ronald McDonald House Charities at the top of our list. With tears in her eyes, she explained to us what a tremendous resource RMHC was to her and her family when her daughter was battling leukemia. The Atlanta-area Ronald McDonald House hosted her, her husband and their children (the family had travelled from Arizona to seek treatment for their daughter) feeding them, giving them a place to rest, and serving as a base station close enough for them to have quick access to their sick daughter and her medical team. Most importantly, the Ronald McDonald House took away the worry of the everyday the laundry, the grocery shopping, the cooking, the cleaning so that she and her family could focus on what was most important: Being strong for their sick child. And each other.
I'll never forget how grateful the folks at the Ronald McDonald House were for the load Mari, Miles, Angelou and I collected from the class and donated on its behalf; the folks at our area Ronald McDonald House needed simple things snacks for the kids, everyday toiletries like soap, tampons, and disposable razors, and pampering products for weary mothers, like lip gloss and nail polish and things that would help them feel pretty, even as they stared down the most ugly experience any mother could face: dealing with the devastation of watching her child suffer from and fight a devastating illness.
They were grateful. And we were happy to help.
And now I'm calling on MyBrownBaby readers to do their part to help a fantastic charity that serves more than four million (!) children AND their families in houses, mobile units and hospital rooms throughout 52 countries around the world. Today is the Ronald McDonald House Charities Day of Change and all day long, people around the world are going to participating McDonald's restaurants to drop change in those cute Ronald McDonald House containers pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters and more, that will keep sick children and their families together in communities across the country.
When it's in your pocket, your spare change may seem like a small amount. But when added with others', it can make a HUGE difference. The nickels, dimes and quarters dropped into RMHC Donation Boxes at McDonald's restaurants last year added up to more than $19 million.
Help RMHC top that by participating in today's RMHC DAY OF CHANGE. Drop your small change into an RMHC Donation Box at participating McDonald's to make a big difference. (Look for them at the counter or drive-thru.) I’m going to have Mari and Lila donate money from their allowance, and I’ll be donating all the change at the bottom of my favorite purses (a small fortune, believe you me) for the cause.
To show your support, connect with the RMHC community on its Facebook page, follow the charity on Twitter at @RMHC, and tweet about this life-changing fundraiser with the hashtag #RMHCDayofChange.
Remember: Every penny counts.