Helping out with hectas at Utrecht’s Ronald McDonald HomeBy guestblogger Lynn

Why we volunteered for Ronald McDonald Homes

“In January 2017 we were faced to see the importance of Ronald McDonald Housing ourselves, in order to stay close by your child in a hospital but still be able to take a step back and feel at home.” In the Ronald McDonald houses you find parents of seriously ill children that have a long-term stay in a hospital. Some families stay in one of the houses for a week up to a full year. In the Netherlands you twelve fifteen Ronald McDonald houses around different (academical) children hospitals, but they have a total of 360 locations around the world.

Every house is depended on sponsoring and donations, none of the costs are covered by the government. Next to that, the Ronald McDonald houses are depending on volunteering. Each family member pays a small fee for each night they stay and they retrieve access to a room and shared living with kitchen.

As parents of a young boy, in 2017 my man and I have been staying in the Ronald McDonald house in Utrecht for four months. During our stay, we were able to find rest in our home away from home and were able to continue some general household tasks such as laundry, cooking and grocery shopping without having to leave our son for too long.

How we volunteered as a company

As employees of the organization hectas, me and my colleagues loved to do something special for the Ronald McDonald home I stayed in. As an organization, hectas stands for humanity and taking care of eachother. Therefore we looked for a task that could make an impact on the humane side of the homes. I reached out to the organization myself and we were able to quickly arrange volunteering with our company. The Ronald McDonald home provided us with a checklist of do’s and don’ts, which made it easy for our organization to pick a specific task we’d be able to fulfill during our voluntary work. We chose to cook for all 60 guests of the Ronald McDonald home – this meal makes it possible for the families to leave the hospital, have a good and nutritious meal and be able to quickly return to their sick child without needing to cook or clean up afterwards.

We cooked a full meal with our team and served soup as a starter, a burger with pasta salad as a main course and a little dessert including (Monchou) cream cheese pie. Some families enjoyed their quick dinner and went back to their child straight away, other families came up to talk to us afterwards. It’s good for them to see new faces sometimes and talk about something different that their sick child the entire day. However the parents reactions, their thankfulness was the best thing and so special. To quote some of my colleagues, “ It is so special to do something so small and simple, but being able to make an impact.”

We made some extra desserts, which we took into the hospital to serve to families inside who don’t stay in the Ronald McDonald House. Also speaking to these families made a big impact and being inside the hospital moves you.

The impact of helping together as a company

Especially doing something small and easy while still making an impact, is a valuable yet easy feature of volunteering as a company (or team within a company). It wasn’t about the expenses, the luxurious food or the extraordinary menu. It’s all about bringing convenience and comfort to the families who need it, listening to their stories and being able to motivate them to go on. Nothing more is needed here. Just a small gesture makes a huge difference.

After all the families left, we cleaned up together and we got the chance to talk to employees of the Ronald McDonald home in Utrecht. We also spoke with each other as a team afterwards. Some of my colleagues experienced it as a somewhat heavy but an extraordinary experience. Being faced with stories of ill children is something that moves you. We all came to the conclusion this voluntary experience was special and something we’d definitely like to do again. hectas, thank you for giving us the chance to make an impact.

Up to the next!

Interested to do something for RMHC as well? Find more information online or contact one of the houses in your area to see what you can do!