A few weeks ago I was talking to one of the maintenance men where I work about his daughter and her upcoming surgery. His daughter is scheduled to have major brain surgery soon, and he was looking for a place to stay in Jackson while she recovers. Without hesitation, I got him in touch with the Ronald McDonald House……a place I grew very fond of during Charlie Rogan’s NICU days.
It is so hard to put into words how awesome that place is. Its not the decor…….its not fancy at all, but for people with sick children, it quickly becomes a home away from home. The magic that happens there has to be experienced to believe.
When Charlie Rogan was born, I knew that I had to stay with her……no matter what. I was willing to do whatever I had to to make that happen, since Robert and I live two hours away from Jackson. Before I was discharged from the hospital, a social worker got me a spot at the Ronald McDonald House. I moved in that day with every intention of only sleeping there……I didn’t want to make friends……I could have cared less about socializing with the other families. Ha ha!! It wasn’t long before I changed my mind. Most of the other mothers were also NICU mothers, so I saw them frequently when we went to feed our babies and in passing at the house. It wasn’t long before we were sharing stories, eating together and crying together. I didn’t want it to happen that way, but it did, and it turned out to be something I needed more than I could have ever imagined. They WERE my family when my real family couldn’t be there, and I will forever be changed by my experience there.
Helping my co-worker find his way there reminded me how important that place is, and how much I feel the need to give back, which I plan on doing in the very near future. If you are interested in ways you can help the families at Mississippi’s only Ronald McDonald House, here are just a few ideas (please feel free to contact them for more):
* volunteer- they rely on volunteers to keep the house running. You can volunteer for an hour, a day….whatever you can do. Volunteers bring meals, do chores, etc. Its a great family project.
* donate used preemie clothes. You can not imagine how much that helps
* at Christmas you can give gifts to the families there. It can be gift cards, fruit, paying room costs for a week……anything!! I spent the Christmas of 2009 there and the generosity of others was touching.
* donate money
As I said before, these are just a few of my thoughts. Please contact them for more ways you can help. You won’t regret it. Here is their information:
Ronald McDonald House
2524 N. State Street
Jackson, MS 39216
Phone: (601) 981-5683