Today is the anniversary of Southwest Airlines, which started air service back in 1971. And Southwest Airlines is a proud sponsor of the Ronald McDonald Houses all over the United States. So what better day to host a BBQ for all the families staying there!
I, being the treasurer of our local SWA Culture Committee, drove to Sam's Club to buy all the food that we needed to cook. The Ronald McDonald Houses of America are run completely by donations and volunteers. Anything they have is given to them and the people that help run each facility is out of the goodness of their own hearts. For anyone that isn't familiar with them, RMH's are simply a place provided to families of young children that are in a hospital for long term care, as a place to stay that isn't costing them a penny. And it's more like a home than a motel. Examples of the cases of illnesses would be: liver disease, premature births with complications, heart disease, lung cancer, etc. The list of problems that can occur goes on forever. Each family is given a room to stay in, keys to the doors that remained locked 24/7, a cupboard in the kitchen to store all their own food (that is also locked up), and a space in the refridgerators. The facility has a huge kitchen with many places to lounge-much like a regular house. Family rooms with tvs, a large laundry room with several machines, a big back yard with playground equipment for kids that are well enough to use them, BBQ grills on the patio. You name it, it's probably got it!
The house here in Omaha has a huge map on the wall of the USA with the names of each family currently staying there, located on the map coinciding with where they are from. It's very interesting to see how far away some have come to get the proper medical care needed for the children. And while we sit and eat our meals, we may have some very interesting conversations with these families.
They appreciate the meals that are cooked for them simply because they don't have to worry about what to make or they may be too tired from being at the hospital most of the day and have no ambition to cook.
Tonight I had the honor of doing the cooking. One small 7 year old girl, Makur, was my constant helper. She had a million questions! And she was dressed like a young pirate! How cute she was!
It's a very inspiring environment to be in even if for a short time. It definitely makes our daily life and annoying problems that we all have, seem very small after learning just what each of those small people is going through.
If you're ever looking for a worthwhile cause, look into your local RMH. Or you can even save pop tabs for them. They take them for recycling. It's an easy and very much appreciated donation. Other ways of donating would be to give things such as food products, paper products, movies to watch on tv, stuffed animals, soda. Or you can call your local facility and check with them to see just what they need the most. You'll be glad you did!