When it comes to hospitalized children and their families, there are few among us who don't want to help in some way. As someone who needed an awful lot of help almost three years ago, I'm glad for that generous, caring spirit that exists in so many!
But it's hard. And we don't all have much in the way of extra funds. Or even extra time.
Here are three things you can do to benefit hospitalized children without breaking the bank or taxing your schedule:
- Collect Pop Tabs-- If you or anyone in your family drinks canned soda, juice, or beer, don't forget to pull the tabs off. You can still recycle them for full value. Those tabs play a huge part in the funding of Ronald McDonald Houses around the country. Ronald McDonald Houses exist to provide a place for families to stay to be close to their hospitalized children. If you're not close to a RMH or a children's hospital, you can also drop them off at any McDonald's Restaurant. Some even have a collection bin in the drive-thru. Also consider putting a pop tab collection box in your office break room, church hall, or even dorm lounge. These boxes are available from any RMH or, if you'd like, send me an email with your address and I'll pick some up and mail them out...
- Consider buying books and stuffed animals at Kohl's-- Kohl's has a program called Kohl's Cares for Kids that is ongoing throughout the year. During any given season, you can find approximately four different books and corresponding stuffed animals for sale up by the registers. These are often excellent books by renowned children's authors. Each hard-bound book or animal sells for just five dollars. All proceeds go to benefit local children's hospitals and charities. In our state, a good portion goes toward carseat research and programs that help ensure every child is safe. Five dollars isn't "free", but it's a good deal for a book or toy that will make a great gift.
- Sign the Prematurity Awareness Petition-- Taking 30 seconds to add your name to the list helps show that these tiny babies matter to you. Raising awareness and ensuring continuing research and education is dependent on the voice of many.