This Year's Project: Compassion Kit Program
About Our Organization
Ronald McDonald House Charities of Siouxland is much more than a place to stay! In addition to Our House, we offer several programs to support families by providing the comforts of home while their child receives medical care. Our Family Kitchen Programs are located within UnityPoint Health-St. Luke's, Buena Vista Medical Center, Cherokee Regional Medical Center, and Floyd Valley Healthcare and are available to all families with children in the hospital. These kitchens are stocked with meals, snacks, beverages, and are accessible 24/7 by contacting the unit staff. Our Family Lunch Program provides nutritious, no-cost meals to all families staying with children at UnityPoint Health - St. Luke's, as well as families with children at MercyOne Child Advocacy Center & Child Health Specialty Clinic.
New in 2023, we discovered many parents whose children were admitted to the hospital did not come prepared for an overnight stay, this is where our Compassion Kit Programs began. Each Compassion Kit is filled with essentials such as shampoo, conditioner, body wash, lotion, toothbrush, toothpaste, tissues, lip balm, gum, socks, activity book, a pillow, and a blanket. Additional comfort items can also be added based on availability and our kits can be customized based on the family’s needs.
Current Project: Compassion Kit Program
We have seen great success with our new Compassion Kit Program so far this year at UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s and would like to expand our efforts in 2024 to Buena Vista Medical Center, Cherokee Regional Medical Center and Floyd Valley Healthcare in Le Mars. The cost per Compassion Kit is $10-$15 and we have estimated needing 780 kits, with a total annual cost of $8,900 for 2024. We have set our Siouxland BIG Give goal at $5,000.00 to help cover these costs so we can continue to offer the program while we explore other funding opportunities to keep this program going year after year.
ClearPath Financial has generously agreed to match all Siouxland BIG Give donations up to $2,500!! Therefore, every dollar you donate is DOUBLED! Your $50 donation becomes $100 and will cover the cost of 7 to 10 Compassion Kits for Siouxland hospital families whose children are receiving medical care!
Thank you for helping us continue our mission of supporting families by providing the comforts of home while their child receives medical care!
Here’s what families who have received these kits wrote to RMHC:
“Dear RMHC Staff and Supporters,
My son was recently admitted to UnityPoint with acute appendicitis which resulted in an appendectomy. While hospitalized he was blessed with a care bag made and donated by your organization. The pillow, books and activities, stuffed animals and toiletries were such a surprise to him and my husband and I. Additionally, the sack lunches/snacks provided made my times of panic and stress much more bearable (a hungry mom isn’t always as collected, right?). Not having to worry about getting a meal somewhere was such a relief that enable me to love on my son that much more. Thank you so much for all that RMHC staff and supporters do, for our community! Sincerely, Stacia and Mike”
“Dear Ronald McDonald House Charities,
I thank you so much for the compassion kit and all the goodies that you donated to the Unity Hospital. They helped me so so much to take my mind of the pain. The pillow was very helpful along with the stuffed animals. But my all time favorite was definitely the fidget spinner which I actually took into my wait for my surgery. With much compassion ha, Lennox”
Feeding Families - Expanding Our Reach
The Ronald McDonald Family Kitchen & Lunch Program feeds hungry parents whose children are receiving medical treatment in Siouxland. There are 4 Ronald McDonald Kitchens at UnityPoint Health-St. Luke's. Each is stocked with snacks, heat and eat meals, and beverages. We also deliver nearly 5,000 homemade lunches to those Kitchens each year, along with several area agencies including MercyOne Child Advocacy Center and Child Health Specialty Clinics.
We now want to expand to other hospitals, but we need your help! We would like to offer heat and eat meals and snacks to families with children in the hospital at Buena Vista Regional Medical Center, Cherokee Regional Medical Center, and Floyd Valley Healthcare in Le Mars, Iowa. We have the plans and the people, we just need some financial help. $5,000 would help us get those programs off the ground with needed equipment, and would give us funding to stock the food through the end of 2022. Can you help? Many of the families at those hospitals don't have access to meals after the hospital cafeteria closes. There are many times when children get sick or end up in the hospital, and their parents haven't eaten dinner. Access to food from a Ronald McDonald Kitchen would be a lifesaver to allow them to eat and focus more on their child than their hunger pains.
Thank you for helping support families when they need it most! Food is a necessity, and so many times when children get sick parents don't have access to that necessity. #KeepingFamiliesClose
Family Lunch Program: Keeping Families Fed
A small act of kindness can make a huge impact on someone's day. That's true of the Ronald McDonald Family Lunch Program. Each day we deliver a sack lunch to family members staying at the hospital with their child. Lunches are prepared by our staff and volunteers at the Ronald McDonald House and placed into sacks decorated by Siouxland students and artists. Those lunches are delivered to 4 departments at UnityPoint Health-St. Luke's: the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Pediatrics, Labor & Delivery and the Emergency Room. We also deliver on an as needed basis to the MercyOne Child Advocacy Center. Once delivered, families are able to pick up a sack lunch when they are hungry or have one delivered to their room by their nursing staff.
While it may not seem like much, these lunches bring smiles to faces and sometimes even tears of joy. Many parents skip meals when their child is sick. But with the RMHC Family Lunch Program they can have a delicious and nutritious meal sitting at their child's beside. One family shared their story saying "Our daughter broke her arm severely in April of 2020 and had to stay at St. Luke's for 2 days and have 2 surgeries. We relied on the Family Lunch Program sack meals you provided. I was so happy to finally get food after 5 hours in the ER her first night!" Another family emailed to say "I don't know where we would be without all the help. From the sack lunches to the snacks and drinks it's been a rough week and you guys made it oso much better."
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, RMHC of Siouxland delivered more than 3,500 lunches to family members at the hospital. That need has not gone away. Families depend on this meal. It not only sustains them, but also helps reduce the mounting costs of being away from home with a sick child.
The cost per lunch is $4. We deliver 15-40 lunches per day to the hospital. Can you help us in Keeping Families Fed? We're hoping to raise $5,000 to fund the Family Lunch program into 2022.
Thank you for Keeping Families Close© and fed on some of the toughest days they face.
Keeping Families Fed
We know the importance of a good lunch, and how a meal from the heart can put a smile on your face even in the toughest of times. However, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we realized just how important the Ronald McDonald Family Lunch Program is to parents with sick children. To keep everyone safe, hospitals had to restrict access to their cafeteria and common areas, as well as restrict visitors at the hospital. Parents could still be by their child's bedside, but food accessibility was limited. We saw the need and stepped our Family Lunch Program to help. We continued to deliver daily lunches for families staying with their children in the hospital. In fact, we beefed up those lunches to make sure they were hearty and had an extra snack for later in the day. In addition, we started providing Breakfast Bags to help those moms and dads get the day started on the right foot, too. We can't take the pain away of having a sick child, but we can make the day a little easier and provide comfort through a good meal.
We are hoping you will join us in helping feed families with meals from the heart for the rest of 2020. The cost per lunch sack is $3, and a breakfast bag is about $1.50. Can you help us raise $5,000 to fund these programs through the rest of 2020? We know the impact this program is having on families. Recently, one of them sent us a note saying "I just wanted to say how amazing this program is and how grateful we are to have had this as an option for meals, especially when we didn't want to leave our baby just to get a meal."
Thank you for Keeping Families Close© and for helping provide a little comfort at the toughest of times for RMHC of Siouxland families!
Ronald McDonald Family Kitchen & Lunch Program
The Ronald McDonald Family Kitchen & Lunch Programs are growing by leaps and bounds! Since it began in March 2018, the RMHC Family Lunch Program has delivered over 3,000 lunches to family members staying with their children at the hospital. RMHC volunteers are currently packing around 300 lunches each month for moms, dads, siblings and grandparents staying with a child while they receive medical treatment at the local hospital. Those lunches are delivered to the Ronald McDonald Kitchens at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Pediatric Units at UnityPoint Health-St. Luke's, as well as several other hospital departments. As this program grows, we have struggled to find space to store food in our refrigerators. Our oven is also aging and needs to be replaced so we can cook and bake the food more evenly. With this year’s Big Give Siouxland donations, we will replace our kitchen appliances, helping grow the RMHC Lunch Program even more.
In 2018, through the Big Give Siouxland, donors helped RMHC provide lunches to families with hospitalized children for 7 weeks. Since then the number of lunches each week has grown, and we’ve also gone from 3 days a week to 4 days a week providing lunches. We would like to add a 5th day and more departments at the hospital.
Snacks and heat and eat meals are also provided to the Ronald McDonald Kitchen at MercyOne Siouxland. Families are able to access snacks, beverages and heat and eat meals 24 hours a day at the Ronald McDonald Kitchens. The family members often spend 12 hours or more with the child every day. Leaving to find food is not always possible, given the child's age or diagnosis. Also, the cost of purchasing those meals can add up. Ronald McDonald House Charities believes in family-centered care, and providing resources for families so they can stay close to their child during the healing process. In the first 8 months of 2019, RMHC of Siouxland delivered over 2,300 lunches for families at the hospital, and provided over 3,800 pounds of food to the Ronald McDonald Kitchens.
Thank you for helping grow the RMHC Lunch Program and providing nutrious meals to families so they can help their child through the recovery process. We believe it’s all about #KeepingFamiliesClose.
RMHC Family Lunch Program
The RMHC Family Lunch Program began in March of 2018. We deliver sack lunches to every member of the family staying with a child in Sioux City's hospitals. The brown bags are decorated by local children, and are packed with a variety of lunch selections by volunteers. The majority of the food for the program is purchased. The menu the families can enjoy rotates between sandwiches, wraps, salads, and hot selections. The lunches also include fruit, vegetables, chips and a treat in the bags. For many of the families who receive the sacks, it may be their only food for the day. Often times, parents don't feel comfortable leaving the hospital floor and, therefore, are left scrounging snacks to get them through the day. Other times, children are admitted late at night, when mom or dad may not have had a chance to eat supper. The extra lunches kept in the RMHC Family Kitchens provide sustenance at those odd hours when food is not available. One other benefit, it's a no cost lunch for the families. They are already facing mounting medical bills, and the free lunches takes one more burden off their shoulders and their wallet. Funding support for this program would help ensure we can continue to provide quality, healthy and no cost lunches to hundreds of families who find themselves in the hospital with a child in 2019.