The Ronald McDonald House is a nonprofit organization that was created to provide a home away from home for families with children receiving medical treatment in area hospitals. There are Ronald McDonald Houses all over the world, with 11 houses in Florida, including one in St. Petersburg and one in South Tampa on Davis Islands.
“All of the families who use our services are given a private room and bathroom as well as access to an extensive pantry, nutritious homemade meals that are prepared by community groups or local residents; they are also offered generous amounts of caring support from volunteers and other families staying at the house,” said Alison Barrick, Marketing & Communications Manager for the organization.
Rooms in the Ronald McDonald House are available for families with a child younger than 18 who is admitted or receiving treatment in a hospital an hour or more away from the home. Each room can accommodate up to four family members including extended family members if the family chooses.
The stories of families who stay at the Ronald McDonald House are all different, and each family has unique needs. Two families who were recently guests in the Ronald McDonald House in South Tampa were the Ellis family, two deaf parents whose son underwent heart surgery, and Krystin Herndon and and her son Rylan, who stayed while Krystin’s new baby was in the hospital.
The Ronald McDonald House in South Tampa is located on Davis Islands, right next to Tampa General Hospital. This location, like all others, is in need of caring and dedicated local residents who can donate their time to help families that are going through a difficult time.
“We rely very heavily on the South Tampa community,” Barrick said. “Most of the house volunteers and meal donors live in South Tampa.”
The Ronald McDonald House needs to fill positions for house shift volunteers, who register and check out families, answer telephones, give tours of the House and assist in the day-to-day operation of the House by helping where needed. Shifts for this position are 9 a.m.-1 p.m., 10 a.m.-2 p.m., 2 p.m.-6 p.m. and 6 p.m.-10 p.m. Volunteers must be able to work a minimum of two four-hour shifts per month. The house is in great need of volunteers who are bilingual or have special skills such as hairstyling or massage therapy.
The charity is also in need of meal volunteers who can create a casserole, stew or chili supper, cook in the house’s kitchen or gas grill, make breakfast or even simply order in a pizza. Meal volunteers can be individuals, pairs or groups.
“Members from local civic clubs, churches and area businesses seem to love this as fun and creative teambuilding effort,” Barrick said.
Aside from working with many volunteers who are South Tampa residents, the Ronald McDonald House also partners with local businesses such as the Starbucks on South Howard and the Davis Islands 7-Eleven, both of which are generous food donors and help with various fundraisers throughout the year.
For information on volunteering with Ronald McDonald House Charities in South Tampa, contact the house directly at 813 254-2398 or visit it in person at 35 Columbia Drive, Davis Islands, or on the Web at www.rmhctampabay.com.
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