RONALD MCDONALD HOUSE OF DURHAM
When families first check in to the Ronald McDonald House of Durham, they are greeted by the smell of cookies fresh out of the oven. Once a week for the past eighteen months, the 140 Crew has had the privilege of helping to fill the house with this warm, comforting smell. Occasionally, we also help out with an evening meal. This past week, Cate, Skyler, and Sydney baked brownies, cookies, and chocolate-pretzel treats in the Ronald McDonald House kitchen. Cate said that the best part of being there was “seeing what a blessing it is for families who are having a hard time to have a happy place to go.” Spend any time at all at Ronald McDonald House of Durham and you’ll agree with Cate – the place is clearly a blessing – not just to the families who stay there, but also to the community that helps to support its necessary and vital presence here in Durham.
Ronald McDonald House of Durham provides a home away from home for families with seriously ill children from all over the world. Because Duke can offer specialized treatments such as infant organ transplants and bone marrow transplants, families often travel great distances to receive care for their loved ones. In fact, the closest distance to home for a family staying at Ronald McDonald House of Durham is fifty miles away, and many families travel much, much farther. Despite these distances, the Ronald McDonald House truly is a home, complete with an inviting kitchen, a warm fireplace, cozy bedrooms, and people who care.
Want to volunteer at Ronald McDonald House, too? No group is too big or too small. Anyone – from Girl Scout troops to large corporate organizations and youth groups – can find a way to be purposeful at the Ronald McDonald House. Assistance is needed on a daily basis: baking cookies at check-in time, preparing homemade suppers, organizing nighttime activities (movie night, anyone?), or hosting a weekend brunch. Volunteering at Ronald McDonald House of Durham is an opportunity to be part of a rich and supportive community.
Clay Ragan, the Volunteer Coordinator, says that the best part of working at Ronald McDonald House of Durham is not just the sense of community within the house itself, but also “seeing the feedback from the [larger Durham] community.” The incredibly positive response from the community to the needs of the house – in volunteers, in-kind donations, and in support of events like the Hearts of Gold Gala on March 4th – is indeed a positive reflection on the area in which we live.