Every single year, Ronald McDonald Houses around New Zealand host hundreds of families for Christmas celebrations when their child is undergoing critical treatment. And every single year, it is incredible supporters in our community that make these Christmas celebrations possible.
When your child is unwell, every second you have together is precious. That's why here at RMHC New Zealand, we strive to give families staying at a Ronald McDonald House the best Christmas experience possible. Families may have to face spending the holidays without their extended friends and family, but they will never have to spend it alone as long as we have the help from our incredible supporters.
In 2019, Christmas came to the Ronald McDonald Houses the first weekend of December. Each House was decorated beautifully, thanks to staff and volunteers, and filled with Christmas cheer for the families to enjoy. Thanks to many of our generous donors and corporate partners, families had a festive wreath attached to their doors with a special message.
We also asked our passionate community of donors to return their own messages of goodwill and hope on a special Christmas decoration for families going through a difficult time. It was so incredibly heartwarming to see how many supporters responded with such motivating messages - we managed to decorate two trees with those decorations!
A big thank you to our supporters who are a part of Jack's Army and learned the secret of The Unwrappable Gift! Because of the amazing response to Jack and his family's story through social media, we were able to share our mission with even more generous Kiwis and help hundreds of families during December.
The week before Christmas, each House hosted it's own Family Christmas Party where all guests were invited to celebrate together with a delicious, festive meal. Our good friend Santa even made a special appearance, bringing a sack of goodies for all of the children attending. There wasn't a face left without a smile by the end of those nights.
In Wellington, our own staff member Dianne Parsonage and her husband Frank led the mammoth task for cooking a holiday feast for hundreds of people. Armed with a team of other RMHC New Zealand staff, Dianne and Frank made sure that nobody went to bed even the slightest bit hungry.
In Auckland, long-term supporters from Rothbury Insurance continued their streak of cooking dinner for the Family Christmas Party. 2019 will have been their 12th year volunteering their time and effort to keep families' full! What an incredible achievement.
We also received an amazing amount of donated gifts of toys and yummy treats for the families while they spent their holiday season with us. This was all thanks to generous individual supporters from our community, our long-term partners Ray White and 1-Day.co.nz.
Ray White hosted their annual "Little Ray of Giving" campaign in which they ask their customers and clients to donate toys for the children staying at Ronald McDonald Houses.
1-Day.co.nz also contributed many exciting gadgets and toys to the Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch Houses, as well as hosting their annual Christmas party for the families in Auckland.
Some McDonald's restaurants collected donations and gifts from customers and staff, and delivered them to the Houses.
Christmas Day followed just like the weeks before - full of festive fun! Thanks to groups of kind individual volunteers, the families staying at a Ronald McDonald House were treated to another Christmas meal. We, and the families at Ronald McDonald House, couldn't be more grateful to those volunteers for giving up their public holiday to help others in need.
The most important thing during all of these festivities was the fact that families could stay close to one another, despite being far away from home on a medical journey. It is thanks to our supporters that every family with a child in hospital receives the care they deserve. No child or parent should have to face feeling alone on the road to recovery.
A huge thank you to every single donor, volunteer and supporter who helped bring Christmas to the Ronald McDonald Houses in 2019. We could not have done this without you.
If you would like to make sure families can keep their loved ones close by while their child is in hospital, you can donate today by clicking here.