Every parent’s nightmare….
The fall breeze flew gently across my cheeks as I bundled up Cherrie for another morning of little league football. We had our purple and gold ready to cheer Marshall on. The smell of freshly popped popcorn and hot dogs filled the air as the cheerleaders were chanting the teams fight song. As we set up our lawn chairs we laughed as parents and coaches yelled at the refs because they didn’t like a call on a play. The boys lined up in a huddle and then we heard the snap. The players ran all over the field and I watched this child run into my son so hard it knocked it back multiple inches. Everyone froze, the players all took a knee, Marshall wasn’t moving. The coaches took off running to the field. I stood there frozen. My heart beat rising from my chest to my throat. I heard someone yell 911. 911? Are they calling 911? I grabbed Cherrie and rushed down to the field. I was instructed to go directly to Children’s Health Care of Atlanta. We went and while Marshall only suffered a mild concussion that day, the memory of that moment still causes my heart to race.
Thousands of parents understand that moment where time stands still and your child is hurt. There is no feeling quite like not being able to do anything for your children. Whenever they are hurting or sick or need surgery, it’s one of those times in a parents life where we dread it and can relate on a very human level with any other parent in our shoes. Imagine if something happens to your child and they are admitted for a hospital stay or if you live in another state are told you need to seek care for your child at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. For many parents, these scenarios are their reality. They have to drop everything they are doing from work to school to community work and be present with that child in the hospital. Many families travel for the best in healthcare and realize they have nowhere to stay.
Atlanta’s Ronald McDonald House Charities are a saving grace for many families when facing a crisis situation. The Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities believes in keeping families close and has done so for the past 38 years. The first facility opened in 1979 as the 4th house in the world. Over the years the houses have been renovated and are top of the line when it comes to being LEED certified. The House near Egleston is a 50 bedroom house that opened in 2008. This house has a separate wing for its transplant patients. The renovated House on Peachtree Dunwoody opened in 2015 with 31 bedrooms, is ADA accessible and Silver LEED certified for patients at Scottish Rite.
In 2016, the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile was introduced. The care mobile’s mission is to bring asthma care to children where they live, learn and play. It continues to serve students of the Atlanta Public School System.
Aside from providing housing options for families at both Egleston and Scottish Rite the Ronal McDonald House Charities also provide scholarships for students and volunteer opportunities for businesses, community groups, and individuals.
Meal Preparations are highly encouraged and fill up quickly. Volunteers can do nightly dinners (Monday-Sunday) where dinner is served at 6 pm. The Breakfast club volunteers are needed to prepare and serve Mon-Fri at 8 am and Sat-Sun at 10 am. The Bakers Club is encouraged Mon-Fri at 10 am or 2 pm. You can use the facility to bake cookies, cupcakes, brownies and more at either of the houses. Finally, the Casserole Club can come on Mon-Fri at 10 am or 2 pm to prepare nourishing casseroles to be stored in the houses freezers and served as needed. Each opportunity requires the volunteers to bring all ingrediantes to prepare the meals. A disposable 9*13 oven safe pan is required for the casserole club. A list of suggested menus is online. The menu will need to be submitted two weeks prior to you visit.
The Charities also have an ongoing wish list for the residents:
Breakfast items: bars, ceral, eggs
Coffee: regular and decaf / Coffee Creamer: individual packs
Fresh fruit and fruit cups
Sandwich meat ad cheese
Juice boxes, bottled water, juice, milk
Ravioli, soup, mac-n-cheese bowls (individual sizes)
Snacks (salty & sweet)- individually wrapped
Sugar/low calorie sweetner
Tea bags-family size
Mustard, ketchup, hot sauce, ranch dressing etc
Salt & Pepper
All purpose cleaner
Bathroom cleaner (bleach free)
Disinfectant wipes and spray
Dish cloths/scrub brushes
Dishwashing liquid/automatic detergent
Laundry detergent, fabric softner
Disposable plastic Solo cups
Insulated Coffee cups with lids
Food storage containers-all sizes
Paper plates & bowls
Plastic forks and spoons
Ziploc storage bags-all sizes
Liquid hand soap
New blankets-queen size / neutral color
New standard pillow
Band-aids (no other medical supplies)
For more information please visit www.armhc.org