Friday, September 19, 2008

Collecting for Donating

This is the scene on my pantry counter. Notice the box on the surface. Notice the paper taped to the cabinet above...

When my daughter arrived so very early, we knew we'd be in for a very lengthy hospital stay. Since our home is two hours away from the fantastic children's hospital, it was important for us to find someplace to stay. A very helpful nurse got our name on the waiting list for the Ronald McDonald house right away. Fortunately, we received a call the day before my discharge saying they had a room ready for us.

I cannot say enough about the RMH. It is a remarkable facility that provides housing for as long as your child is hospitalized. We ended up staying there an even 100 days and nights. It was certainly our home away from home.

One thing that never failed to amaze me throughout our stay was how the house provided for all of our needs. They had a beautiful kitchen with a fully stocked pantry that we were able to use. They had diapers and wipes in the public bathrooms that we were free to use for our babies. There was always laundry detergent and fabric softener in the laundry rooms. They made sure to tell us that we should just ask if any needs arose; they would do their best to meet them. It only happened twice during our stay- once when we were running dangerously low on diapers and I was still on driving restriction, once when our son had rotovirus and I was desperate for some plain graham crackers, the only thing he seemed able to keep down. Both times, the staff there went above and beyond. I tried to pay them for the diapers, but they just shook their heads; it's all donated.

Now that we're home and C. is healthy, it's important to me that we give back to a place that did so much for us. I printed this list from our local Ronald McDonald House's website. They keep an updated "wish list" there at all times. I then posted it on my cabinet for easy reference. I highlighted the items I felt I was most likely to be able to pick up for free or cheap at CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, etc. I put a little check mark next to it if I've added it to the box.

The box just sits there, filling up, until I'm headed down that direction. It's so easy to fill because it's right there with all my storage space. When I'm driving that way anyway, I know I can just pop in, drop off the items I've collected, and head home to do it all again.

It's a very painless way to give. I think it's important to find ways to donate to causes that are near and dear to us. For me, that meant learning to collect needed items on a strict budget. I like to think that some of these things make people's lives a little easier as they endure one of the hardest journeys of their lives- having a child in the hospital.

For more frugal tips and ideas, check out Frugal Friday, hosted at Biblical Womanhood.


Ryann said...

When Addy was at Riley, we were lucky enough to live so close. A 10-15 minute drive from home to parking garage. While we were lucky to be able to sleep in our own beds and have all the conveniences of home, we had friends who had to stay at the RMH. While it's definitely not home, you make the best of each situation and are grateful for those who give so you can be more comfortable. We still collect those pop tabs to take to RMH, but since I've been getting free or nearly free items while shopping, I'm going to visit the RMH website and print off a list to keep at our house too. Thanks so much for sharing this.

Another thing I'm doing is going through my scrapbook supplies and donating the things I won't be using right away. While Addy was in the NICU and in Special Care Nursery, the nurses and staff captured Addy on film, printed the photos and made scrapbook pages to hang near her bed. This was so wonderful because I ended up having to go back to work while Addy was still in the NICU, so we could only visit a few hours each evening. I knew she was being taken care of and loved while we weren't able to be there. I'll be donating a box of supplies for the second time... the nurses are happy to receive new products to create with. I encourage others to to the same.

JessieLeigh said...

What a great idea, Ryann! I hadn't thought of that. Thanks for sharing.