Home for Dinner Program
Ronald McDonald House Charities® (RMHC) Alberta provides a home away from home for families with a sick or injured child. Since 1985 we have supported tens of thousands of families. Over 65% of families live outside of a city with a children’s hospital. RMHC Alberta alleviates financial, emotional, and physical burdens placed on families who must travel long distances for specialized care. RMHC Alberta is the bridge to accessing quality healthcare by supporting the entire family. RMHC Alberta improves the quality and experience of the care of the child and the wellbeing of the family.
The Ronald McDonald House offers more than a bed for families that stay with us, we offer a home away from home with our wrap-around programming. That is why our Home for Dinner program is a quintessential part of RMHC programming.
Preparing a meal can be a stressful task after spending a long and potentially emotional day at the hospital. But, thanks to our generous volunteers, the House can reduce this stress for families. Through the Home for Dinner Program, a group of volunteers purchase groceries and provide dinner for families staying at the House. This includes planning, cooking, clean-up and packaging up any leftovers. We aim to have a home cooked dinner for families 365 days of the year, however some volunteers are wanting to participate but find the rising cost of groceries difficult to manage.
If we were to receive financial support from the Field Law Community Grant program, we would be able to ensure families are fed by volunteers every night of the year. We would use the donation to create a fund assist volunteers with the cost of groceries, if needed. COVID-19 and the recession has hit all families in Alberta hard, however that does not mean essential programming needs to be lost. With your support, we can continue to feed families who stay with us a warm cooked meal with a friendly face.
Who Will it Benefit?
The sense of community enables families to rely on each other and shore up strength when they need it the most. In 2021, we served 1,053 families across the province and provided 18,546 nights of comfort. Many of the families traveling for their child’s treatments are facing weeks, or even months, away from their home. A recent study from RBC determined that last year we helped Alberta families save $6.5M. Those savings are found in the areas of accommodation, food, childcare and transportation.
Many times, not staying at RMHC Alberta results in devastating financial impacts for a family (30 nights of paying for a hotel) or physical & emotional impacts (separated from family, home, potentially sleeping in their car).
The Home for Dinner program is an important aspect of staying in the House. In the words of one of the mothers who stayed with us in 2019, “To have meals prepared was wonderful…. It was a huge burden and weight off our shoulders.”
Apart from the financial burden RMHC alleviates from the families that stay with us, there is an emotional and mental toll that is cared for by staff and volunteers who contribute to this program. Home for Dinner benefits every family that walks through our doors.