Touring the Orange County Ronald McDonald House

As you know, I grew up in the city of  Orange, CA. When I was a kid something new came to town, the Ronald McDonald House. I would pass by it on my way to school and wonder what it was. I asked my mom and she told me it was a home for families who had sick children in the hospital. It really struck me at the time because I was a healthy kid and couldn’t even imagine being in the hospital. To this day, I’ve never forgotten that conversation between me and mom.

Recently, I was offered a tour of that very same Ronald McDonald House. I visited with the director of the home, Deb Levy, and she showed me around the premises. Let me tell you, it was one inspirational tour.

The purpose of the residence is to be the home base for families whose children are critically ill in an Orange County hospital. Although, the home is located within walking distance of CHOC it doesn’t solely serve that hospital. Any hospital in Orange County where a child is ill can send a family to this Ronald McDonald House.

The house has a capacity of 80 people – there are 20 rooms bedrooms that sleep four people. Most nights, the home is at capacity or over. Any family they don’t have room for will be placed in a nearby hotel at no cost.

The home is intended to be a warm, comforting environment for the families. The rooms are supplied with Tempur-pedic mattresses, donated by the company.

There is a meditation room that is a quiet environment for someone to spend a private moment. There’s also a large kitchen where local volunteers provide a nightly meal. There’s an office for parents to use the internet for communication and research and for siblings to watch a movie.

And there’s a beautiful backyard where the families can relax.

The entire home is a refuge for those who are enduring some of the most difficult periods of their lives. My entire visit was equal parts heartbreaking and inspiring.

The Orange County Ronald McDonald House provides a wonderful service for families of ill children – all at no cost to the families. How do they do this? Donations. Each home is self sustaining and relies on the surrounding community for assistance. So how can you help? I’m happy to say, there are plenty of ways.

You can donate money or items.

There is a storage closet in the home that is filled with toys and pajamas. Any time a parent needs to cheer up their sick child or a sibling they can go to the closet and grab a toy, book, or DVD for them – free of charge. The pajamas are for the children who have been checked into the hospital so rapidly that they don’t have a chance to bring something from home. The parents can take a pair of pajamas so that their son or daughter doesn’t have to wear a hospital gown.

The home has plenty of canned goods but frequently is in need of fresh fruit and vegetables or snack items as they always keep those on hand for the families to use. And speaking of food…if you want to get a group of people together the home would be happy to have you come cook a meal.

And if you’re free on October 25th there is a High Tea Fashion Show taking place at the Island Hotel in Newport Beach. It looks to be a fun event that supports a great cause!

And be sure to keep in mind April 2014. There’s a 5K walk happening at the Honda Center that’s sure to be a good time!

So, there’s lots of ways you can help the Ronald McDonald House. Now I know these examples are specific to Orange County but I’m sure all locations could use similar assistance. Just check the website to find the one nearest you as there’s over 300 world wide.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.