SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The pandemic canceled a lot this year. If only it could cancel children born with heart defects. If only it could postpone the stress of a family spending the holidays at a hospital.
Thankfully, The Ronald McDonald House Charities Bay Area goes on, as it has for 40 years. If a family needs housing, it's there. If parents could use some help with meals, it's provided. But this year, it all comes at a pretty big cost.
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'We had about $1.4 million dollars at risk because of fundraisers that we had to cancel," said Ronald McDonald House Charities Bay Area CEO Laura Keegan Boudreau. Making matters even more difficult, COVID-19 means the nonprofit cannot allow its usual "army" of volunteers into their facilities at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford and UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital in San Francisco.
And so, it does the pandemic pivot. "Our team, at the beginning of this, threw their job descriptions out the window," Boudreau said. Now, staff members step in to prepare meals and work clean-up duty because the more than 1,800 families they have served this year depend on them. "I think we're all feeling the strain right now of being isolated from family and friends, but it is especially tough for families with a critically ill child."
Donations towards The Ronald McDonald House Charities Bay Area help families get the medical care and resources they need. The Bay Area sector helps house families close to hospitals while their child gets treatment for serious medical conditions.
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On a personal note, over the years here at ABC7, it has been my pleasure to emcee events for RMHC Bay Area. I've been able to meet families who have left their lives, their jobs and their support systems to dedicate as much time as possible to help their sick or injured children heal. Ronald McDonald House allows them the space to concentrate on their kids instead of worrying about dinner or childcare.
I can't host an event or nudge you at an auction to give generously this year. So I'm hoping that if you have the means, you'll join me in donating to this worthy cause that needs us now more than ever.
In addition to their critical financial support needs, you can also support them with physical donations, such as toys, care kits, and services. You can find more information on physical donations here.
They also have wish lists on their website to help them get the essential supplies they need to continue supporting families.
For a full list of ways to give, including their yearly Comfort & Joy Drive, visit the RMHC Bay Area website.