WASHINGTON, NC The Ronald McDonald House has helped families with children in the hospital for 30 years in Greenville and, now, the Beaufort County Association of Nursing Students will help them by collecting donations. Beaufort County Community College employees, students and community members are encouraged to drop off donations in Building 12 on BCCC's campus.
Hannah Caton, who works in development for Ronald McDonald House, presented the mission of her organization to BCANS members on January 23. RMH has two locations in Greenville, a 21-bedroom facility on Moye Blvd. and a 6-bedroom facility at Vidant Medical Center. The purpose of these facilities is to provide children and their families a place to stay while they are receiving medical treatment. These facilities are modeled to look like comfortable home environments so they can help families take refuge from the stressful hospital environment. Of the facility inside Vidant Medical Center, Caton said they want families to "feel like they're not in the hospital anymore."
Caton told the group that there are only a few requirements for families to stay at a RMH facility. People staying must be immediate family members of the child seeking medical attention. They must live over 30 miles from the hospital and are asked for a $10 donation per night, but no one is turned away. Families are directed to the organization by social workers at the hospital.
Elizabeth Knox; Carolina Bertran; Shaqkwela Joyner, RMH intern; Hannah Caton, RMH development; and Richard English.
By far the most prominent reason why families stay is neonatal issues, such as premature births. The average stay at a Ronald McDonald House is 11 days. The two Greenville facilities are responsible for all of all of eastern North Carolina. Within BCCC's service area, RMH provide Beaufort County with 29 nights, Hyde County with 14 nights, Tyrrell County with 68 nights and Washington County with 178 nights.
Over the years, children have returned to the Ronald McDonald House to thank the organization and to update them on their progress. One child showed up at the door and announced himself as "Ruler Boy," referring to a picture on their wall of him as an underweight newborn next to a ruler. He has kept checking in with RMH as has he has matured.
Ronald McDonald House only receives about 18% of its funding from McDonald's. It relies on community monetary and in-kind donations for much of its operational costs. BCANS will be collecting items such as trash bags, bleach, umbrellas, cleaning products, and condiments such as ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise and coffee creamer.
BCANS president Richard English said he hopes that members can replicate the success they had with their Ruth's House donation drive.
"We were able to provide Ruth's House with their largest one-time in-kind donation in 2016. They were very thankful,"
said English. "I hope we can do the same for Ronald McDonald House."
BCANS hosts speakers to provide future nurses with insight on public health issues. The group exposes students to volunteer opportunities in the community that relate to public health and social services. BCANS will collect donations through February 28.
- Contact: Attila Nemecz