Pull Together to help #keepfamiliesclose

pop-tabIt’s not just an urban myth. The Ronald McDonald House really does collect the aluminum pop tabs from cans. We are able to generate thousands of dollars from our pop tab collection program every year. That would be impossible without the amazing support of children and adults who faithfully collect the tabs. It’s an easy way to do something good and make a difference in the life of a seriously ill child. Why not get your school, workplace or community organization to collect them with you?

Jordan Reich has been collecting Pull Tabs for our families for the last 5 years with his family, friends, and school.

“I started collecting these soon after my niece Kyndall was hospitalized at Valley Children’s Hospital with RSV. They did not stay at the Ronald McDonald House during this visit, but not long after, Kyndall was having more medical issues that required surgeries. It was hard for my sister and her family to drive Oakdale to Madera for surgeries that were at 3:00am. so they were fortunate enough to get a room at the Ronald McDonald House. 

Later on, Kyndall’s older sister needed to have a procedure so they once again got to stay at the House. Today, my nephew Kayson, their little brother will be having a surgery and they will have once again been blessed to stay at the Ronald McDonald House. The help of the Ronald McDonald House has been tremendous and bother their family and ours can’t thank you all enough for what you have done. 

I wanted to start collecting the pop tabs because i saw the way you helped families in need,” Jordan Reich. 

Pull together to help #keepfamiliesclose!

Pull tabs can be delivered to the Ronald McDonald House at 9161 Randall Way, Madera, CA 93636.

September Volunteer of the Month

kenny_1“Volunteers do not necessarily have the time, they have the heart.” -Elizabeth Andrew

Meet our September Volunteer of the Month, Kenneth (Kenny) Seim. Kenny has been involved with our House since he became employed by Cargill in 2008. Cargill, as a whole, is one of our biggest supporters and promotes the importance of our mission in their work culture. As a volunteer, he has helped cook and serve meals for our families but more specifically, he has been a vital part of our FORE! THE HOUSE Golf Tournament since its start in 2012. This is one of the largest event fundraisers for our organization and each year has raised significant funds to help support our families. Kenny goes above and beyond when it comes to this event because he knows the impact it has on our organization in helping us serve our mission. He is also a true advocate for our House and really instills what we do with his fellow colleagues. Thank you Kenny for all you do and congratulations on being our September Volunteer of the Month!

1.How did you start volunteering with our House?

Since my Cargill employment in 2008 I have helped cook and organize many events at the House.

2. What type of things have you done while volunteering?

I have helped organize cookouts for the families, I assist the team with getting meat donations for various activities such as Sporting Clays, The Red Heart Ball, and The FORE! The House Golf event along with any other activity that meets the criteria for donations.

3. What is your favorite part of our House?

My favorite part of the house is the kitchen area.  I say this because when people come together to cook and eat, friendships and learning can be made.

4. What is your favorite thing about volunteering at the House?

My favorite thing about volunteering at The House is helping to make The House a better place for the families that utilize it and making their stay as comfortable as possible

5. Tell us something fun about that we don’t know. Hidden talent, funny story, favorite pastime, etc.

My favorite pastimes are spending time with my wife & children traveling to various places, cooking, fly fishing and golfing.

RMHC Family Thank You Note

Good Afternoon,bain-family_vertical

As you may know my wife Laura Bain and I were residents of the Ronald McDonald House from May 2, 2016 until August 13, 2016.  We wish to tell the story of our son Evan Andrew Schwartz and share with you our journey along the way.  Our son Evan was born on 04-30-2016 at 29 weeks and five days gestational age, his original due date was to be 07-11-2016.  At birth he was 2 lbs 13 oz and 16 inches tall. Laura began having what we now know were contractions on Wednesday 04-27-16 and by Thursday afternoon she was in the hospital. Later that night at 11pm her water broke and a few hours later she was airlifted from Mercy Merced to St Agnes Hospital in Fresno. The next day at 4:36 am Evan was born. Truth be told, at the time of his birth we didn’t have a name for him and we were not aware of the gender because we chose to be surprised. 5 hours after birth, he was transferred to Valley Children’s Hospital and was diagnosed with an Tracheoesophageal fistula (TEF) and esophageal atresia (EA).  On the second day of life, he under went surgery, to correct the TEF and place a G-tube in his stomach. After the surgery, doctors said it was now a matter of him gaining weight in order to undergo the EA repair surgery.  They said he could be in the hospital up to six months depending on how everything goes.  Needless to say, life changed quickly over night and we were now in a situation where we would have to travel over an hour one way just to be with our son.  Luckily, we were moved to the top of the list for the Ronald McDonald house and by Monday, May 2nd we had a room.  The room we were given was more than accommodating, clean, and very spacious.  All the staff of the house were always amazing and accommodated our every need.  My wife and I took the first two weeks off of work and then traded what we called “shifts” at the hospital once we returned.  One of us would be at home while the other would commute to work every morning after being by Evan’s side. We are very grateful for the room we had at the Ronald McDonald house which allowed one of us to be by Evans side nearly every day. After about a month of being there at the house our room was completely transformed. New beds, hard wood floor, paint, base boards, light fixtures, blinds, artwork, and even a closet organizer.  My wife and I were absolutely astonished by difference those changes made. We were very blessed because day after day Evan made good progress and continued to gain weight as the doctors had hoped.  It seemed like an eternity but after about three months, Evan gained the necessary weight to under go the EA repair and just like that we had a surgery date, 08-11-2016. The surgery was a complete success and then it was just a matter of time for Evan to learn to feed on his own, which the doctors told could take a few days up to a couple months.  Remarkably, Evan was able to eat on his own after the seventh day of recovery and by Tuesday August 23, 2016, 116 days after our journey began, we were being discharged from the hospital.
Thank you for everything you did for my family. You all made our experience so much more comfortable and much easier.

 

Thank you again,

Matthew, Laura and Evan

August Volunteer of the Month

Francis Torres-Garcia 2
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others” -Gandhi

We are very happy to announce our August Volunteer of the Month, Francis Torres-Garcia! Francis began working at our House in 2015 but prior to that she had volunteered at the Chicago RMHC House since 2011. Francis assists our House in many different ways that include her bi-weekly front desk volunteer duties, helping out at our events, and also attending outreach booths within the community to help raise awareness about RMHC. With her outgoing personality and yoga-minded ways, she is always a joy to have around.  Thank you Francis for all you do for our House and congratulations on being our August Volunteer of the Month!

1. Your name and a little bit about yourself.

Francis Torres-García. I’m a volunteer Junkie. A yogi with extreme wanderlust. I am a lover for adventure and spontaneity.  Always looking to try new things. To see new things. I love to meet  people and help in any way possible. Giving back to my community is how I feed my soul.

2. How did you start volunteering with our House?

I started volunteering at the Chicago House back in 2011 because a friend hosted a fundraising event to help the House. I’ve never heard about the House before that. I had recently moved to that city and was looking for a place to give back, to help out.

Then in 2015 I got told we were moving to Fresno, the first thing I did after I got the news was goggle  “Ronald McDonald House in Fresno” went through the web page and found Sven’s email. Wrote him a letter (while at the Chicago House) explaining my situation and so yes, I was already volunteering before even having a house to live for myself.

3. What type of things have you done while volunteering?

Meals of the heart: cooking a meal for the whole house. Special events like wish list drives, support in race events, Christmas Party, translations, front desk, check in families, cleaning, etc. Pretty much anything that needs to be done, I’m down to help.

4. What is your favorite part of our House?

That everyone knows everyone. That it’s a small house so everything is more personal and you can make people feel special. Cozy.

Free ice scream could also be in the list. hahaha

5. What is your favorite thing about volunteering at the House?

My extended family, the way they make me feel like home. A support group.  We all say we volunteer to help others but in reality we get so much more back. When I know I made a difference in someone’s life simply by listening or catering to their needs.

6. Tell us something fun about you that we don’t know. Hidden talent, funny story, favorite pastime, etc.

I consider myself a really outgoing person, but when it comes to having all the attention to myself I get really shy and cave in. So, nope, no karaoke singing for me. I love yoga, hiking, jumping out of planes and pretty much every extreme adventure I can find. Favorite pastime is yoga, spending time with my friends, exploring and food, I LOVE FOOD.

 

July Volunteer of the Month

Mike Stafford“One of the greatest gifts you can give is your time” -Unknown

Meet our Volunteer of the Month, Mike Stafford. Mike is the store manager at the Madera Lowe’s and has been a tremendous supporter of our House through the Adopt-A-Room program. When he was approached with the idea to assist in renovating all 18 of our bedrooms, he jumped on the opportunity. Since then, all 18 rooms have been renovated where, with the help of Mike and Lowe’s, they provided an affordable price and most of the labor. Many of their employees dedicated their time to help with this mass project in support of the our House. Phase 1 of the Adopt-A-Room project was completed on June 9th where they finished the last 10 rooms in 2 days. Thank you Mike for spearheading this entire effort and congratulations on being July’s Volunteer of the Month, we could not have done it without you!

1. Your name and a little about yourself.

Mike Stafford I’m the Store Manager for Lowe’s in Madera, Ca. Born and raised in the Visalia area.

2. How did you start volunteering with our House?

About a year and a half ago Marisa approached me at my store about the Adopt a Room program and how she wanted to elevate the program.  We discussed how we can renovate the rooms and give them a homier feel.

3. What type of things have you done while volunteering?

Organized over 200 volunteers totaling close to 3,000 hours to renovate all 18 rooms.  Upgrades to the room include; paint, flooring, baseboards, lighting, closet kits and blinds.

4. What is your favorite part of our House?

The piece of mind the house gives the families staying there.  The last thing a family needs is to worry about living expenses when their child is being cared for at Valley Children’s.  They get a newly renovated room, a hot shower and a meal to eat for free.  The best part is these services help keep the families together.

5. What is your favorite thing about volunteering at the House?

Being part of an organization that makes a huge impact on families across the Valley. Also getting to see firsthand the impact the House makes on the thousands of families that stay there every year.

6. Tell us something fun about you that we don’t know. Hidden talent, funny story, favorite pastime, etc.

I’m terrified of sharks so much that I will not get in the ocean farther than the water hitting me just below the waist.  I’m a huge shark week fan.  FYI I’ve never had a shark encounter. But I have recently been to a beach that had a shark siting notice that expired the day of my visit and thought to myself I hope the shark knows that it said expired today and moved on.

Lowe’s “Adopt A Room” Program

We opened the doors to our Ronald McDonald House on February 14, 2001 and have served thousands of families over the years; keeping them close to their children in their time of need. Over the years the rooms have seen a tremendous amount of wear and tear due to the hundreds of families staying in each room. We saw that there was a great need to renovate the 18 bedrooms and wanted to provide our families with a relaxing place to retreat too.

The “Adopt A Room” Partnership is a program allowing companies, organizations, and families to be the exclusive room sponsor for one of the 18 rooms at the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Central Valley. The $5,000 annual donation  sponsors all of the families who stay in the adopted room throughout the year & provided a room upgrade in partnership with Lowe’s. 20% of the donation went towards the room upgrade & 80% sponsors the families that stay in your room.

Last April RMHC Central Vally partnered with the Madera Lowe’s Home Improvement on the “Adopt A Room” Program! We went to them in hopes that they would partner with us and provide extensive discounts in order for us to complete the renovations within the program budget we created. They not only agreed to give us a discount on the products we were seeking, they also volunteered to complete the renovations at no cost! Lowe’s is very community serviced focused and was just as excited as we were to partner with us for this program.

We completed the first room renovation on April 21, 2015 when our McDonald’s Co-op adopted Room #117! We put the family staying in Room #117 up in a nearby hotel and completed the renovation in just two days! The family was in awe at the upgrades that were made to the room and the difference it made in their stay.

Once we completed the first renovation, we started approaching other donors to help us support the program. We received amazing feedback and pretty soon had more than half of the rooms adopted. Lowe’s came in and renovated two more rooms, but now we had so many of our rooms adopted, Lowe’s couldn’t keep up with the ‘once-a-month’ renovation schedule we originally decided upon.

Lowe’s completed their first mass renovation on November 5th, updating five more rooms. At this point, we had all but 10 rooms renovated and we were entering into the holiday season. We still needed to get three more bedrooms adopted. Over the next couple of months we were successful in getting the remaining bedrooms adopted.

We now had the remaining 10 rooms adopted, we just needed to figure out when and how we were going to complete the renovations. Lowe’s committed to completing the renovations for the remaining 10 rooms on June 9, 2016! With help from neighboring Lowes stores, we were successful in completing the renovations! Over 100 volunteers dedicated two days to complete the remodels for our families. It was quite a sight to see! Volunteers from Wells Fargo, VF Outdoor, CCWF, and Murphy Bank, four of our room donors, also participated in the renovations.

We are proud to say that all 18 bedrooms in our House are now upgraded and provide a warm space for our families to retreat to after a long day at the hospital. Thank you to Lowe’s for taking on this project with us and volunteering your time to complete the renovations; we could not have done this without you!

Special thanks to our 18 room donors: Barthuli & Associates, Bishel Family Farms, Cargill, CCWF, JT AG Services, Lyons Magnus, Macy’s, McDonald’s (2), Murphy Bank, The Delph Family- McDonald’s, The Torres Family- McDonald’s, U.S. Cold Storage, Valley Children’s Healthcare, VF Outdoor (2), and Wells Fargo.

June Volunteer of the Month

Ashwin Jayakumar“No one can do everything, but everyone can do something.” -Unknown

Meet our Volunteer of the Month, Ashwin Jayakumar.  Ashwin just finished his junior year of high school and has learned at a young age the importance of giving back. He started volunteering at our House when he was only 14 and has since dedicated every Friday evening to coming here and helping around the House. Thank you for all you have done with helping us and our families over these past few years and congratulations on being June’s Volunteer of the Month!

1. Your name and a little about yourself.

My name is Ashwin Jayakumar. I’m a junior at Clovis North High School. I play tennis, volunteer at Saint Agnes Hospital as well as the Ronald McDonald House, and hope to go to UC San Diego for college. I have greatly enjoyed volunteering at the House and it has helped me to become a better person.

2. How did you start volunteering with our House?

I started volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House in 2013 after my longtime friend recommended it. I volunteer every Friday from 4 PM to 7 PM and I cherish every moment that I spend within the House. Volunteering has helped me to become more efficient, more organized, and more enterprising.

3. What types of things have you done while volunteering?

My typical schedule when I volunteer is answering the phone as well as helping out with a multitude of other tasks, such as cleaning, set up, etc. Through doing these activities while I volunteer, I have been able to pick up a multitude of skills such as being able to speak freely, being more resourceful, and making me develop time- management.

4. What is your favorite part of our House?

My favorite part of the House is the mural composed of the multicolored hand cutouts that form a tree. It is the first thing that individuals see once they enter through the front doors, and personally, it symbolizes that many smaller things can come together to create one larger, more beautiful thing.

5. What is your favorite thing about volunteering at the House?

One of my favorite things about volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House is coming into contact with a multitude of people, each with different backgrounds. Every time that I come in, I am able to learn about new things, some of them being absolutely mind blowing, from people who all have different life stories.

6. Tell us something fun about you that we don’t know. Hidden talent, funny story, favorite pastime, etc.

One of my favorite pastimes is playing tennis. Whenever we have the ability to do so, me and my family go to play. In the past, I have taken tennis lessons and have played for my middle school. I am no longer able to do so, unfortunately, due to time constraints, however, I would like to resume playing for the school during my senior year.

CART High School Internship

As CART students, we were chosen to intern at the Ronald McDonald House where we met our mentors Mia and Marisa. They gave us the opportunity to see what it is like at the Ronald McDonald house and what happens behind the scenes. It has been an experience like no other!
They gave us the opportunity of being able to promote the “Halfway to Halloween” event at the Grizzly Stadium. To do this we designed posters and went around town to put them up. We were also able to collect some donations to put together two raffle baskets for each night, by doing this we got to meet so many new people. During the event we sold striped socks for $10 and every pair of socks came with a raffle ticket which would give the buyer a chance to win the basket of the night. We were lucky enough to raise $625 to help the families at the Ronald McDonald House. It felt great to see our hard work pay off and to meet people who had actually spent time in the Ronald McDonald house. We are so thankful that we were given the opportunity to work with our mentors and be apart of the team at the Ronald McDonald house.
Jailene & Lalli, CART High School Juniors

May Volunteer of the Month

What is so amazing about the Ronald McDonald House is that there are so many ways to get involved with our House. Meet our May Volunteer of the Month, Paul Schramm. Paul helps our  Processing DepaPaul_VOMrtment with the Car Raffle that our House has been doing for 23 years. He mainly attends car shows, out of town, to sell tickets. Thank you Paul for helping us raise money for our House and congrats on being May’s Volunteer of the Month!

  1. Your name and a little bit about yourself.

Paul  R. Schramm—Born in Fresno, grew up in Clovis and went to Sanger High School, GO APACHES!!! I enjoy camping, shooting and the great outdoors. I like traveling, I enjoy eating at small “hole in the wall” restaurants  wherever  I  go.  Local music/events are always something I like going to & more recently, car shows!

  1. How did you start volunteering with our House?

Through David Ashjian. We have been friends for 10 plus years! I went with him one time to a Barrett Jackson car show in Reno to help raise money for the house by selling car raffle tickets. I really enjoyed it and wanted to continue volunteering whenever possible.

  1. What type of things have you done while volunteering?

Mainly I go to car shows or events to help raise money for the house by selling car raffle tickets.The places I have been while volunteering are: Reno, Anaheim, Fresno, Las Vegas, Florida, Morro Bay & Sacramento just to name a few.

  1. What is your favorite part of our House?

The bench out front where Ronald McDonald sits. I enjoy talking to him. He is a really good listener but doesn’t really have much to say most of the time…..I guess you could say he is stone-faced or even giving me the cold shoulder……

  1. What is your favorite thing about volunteering at the House?

I can physically see the difference that I am making in the families lives. It may be small, but I know my time is making a difference.

  1. Tell us something fun about you that we don’t know. Hidden talent, funny story, favorite pastime, etc.

When I was in the 6th grade I took fencing lessons (sword fighting) for about a year. After that I didn’t further it along……I enjoy playing drums, hand percussion and other percussion instruments.

 

 

One Big House

When I was younger, my family and I would travel to Fresno to visit our relatives and my grandma. We traveled so often that it didn’t make sense to me why we just didn’t live in Fresno. In fact, why didn’t we just all live in one big house? If we wanted to see each other so often, we wouldn’t have to always travel so far? It made perfect sense to me – my family along with both of my aunts and uncles and their children, and my grandma all in one big house! I would be able to play with my cousins every day and my parents and aunts and uncles would never have to worry about traveling again.

Wasting no time, I immediately told my mom about my brilliant idea. She agreed that it was a great idea, but said it would never happen. It didn’t make sense to me – why can’t it happen? What’s the reason?

Apparently, living together meant spending 3 times more money on necessities; we would have to buy more food, more hygiene products, more household items, and everything else that falls under daily necessities, not considering other payments and bills.

Then it dawned on me, we couldn’t live together because we wouldn’t be able to provide for that many people.

My first time witnessing multiple families living together was here at the Ronald McDonald House. The Ronald McDonald House provides a “Home away from Home” to 18 families every night. Each wing in the House has a fully stocked pantry and 2 full refrigerators, enough household items,  cleaning supplies, and great living space available for the families. I wondered how it was possible that the House was able to accommodate 18 families without running short of the items needed to support it? Who was behind all of this?

The donors. The volunteers. The ones who make the biggest difference here at the House. Without them, the pantries and refrigerators would be empty. Without them, household items would be difficult to attain. Without them, there wouldn’t be enough cleaning supplies for the families to use. Without YOU, the families would not be able to live at the House together.

Ronald McDonald House has a Wish List available online at www.rmhccv.org/wish-list/ for you to make a donation to help keep families close.

Thank you so much if you have donated in the past. RMHC deeply appreciates and acknowledges your generous donation.