The holiday season is a time for families and communities to come together to celebrate their blessings while supporting each other through their challenges. Every family has their own holiday traditions that make this time of year special, including the volunteers and staff at Ronald McDonald House of Chapel Hill.
Every year, the Carolina Lily Chapter of the National Charity League helps transform the RMHCH House into a festive winter wonderland. By decorating the campus, the NCL brings the holiday spirit to the families staying in the House this Christmas.
Andrea Berry, the Carolina Lily Chapter liaison to RMHCH, has participated in the holiday festivities for many years. “We have so enjoyed the opportunity to decorate the House so it feels a little more like home for the families. It helps keep things in perspective, as the families are going through so much but are so grateful and appreciative for all the House offers them. Hopefully they feel some comfort and familiarity like they would in their own homes,” Andrea said.
Andrea and the NCL work with RMHCH throughout the year, hosting various events to connect with the families they serve. “I think our Chapter treasures our partnership with RMH because we are a Mother Daughter organization. As a Mom who has been blessed with a healthy daughter, it seems like a small way to give to those who are going through so much. Our Chapter takes on a number of projects throughout the year, serving meals and collecting items for gift bags for the families for Mother’s Day and Christmas Stockings.”
RMHCH also hosts Santa’s Workshop, an event that allows every family staying in the House to “shop” for new toys and gifts for each member of their family. This year, Santa’s Workshop will feature a Christmas Village to spread the holiday cheer.
Cathy Hall, Director of Volunteer Services at RMHCH, has been working with the House for 10 years, and especially enjoys helping during the holidays. “I think working here at the holidays … teaches me to be thankful and to look at my life and find ways to spread joy to others. It’s amazing to see how much is donated by the local community and just how touched a family can be by the love and care of a stranger,” Cathy said.
Although the holidays can be a joyous time, it also can be stressful for many of the families at the House. “Families that go through the [Santa’s Workshop] room are overwhelmed by the generosity of the community towards them. Medical treatments and travel are expensive. For some families this trip to Santa’s workshop allows them a chance to celebrate the holidays with less stress,” said Cathy.
We thank all of our volunteers and donors that help out throughout the year to make the Ronald McDonald House of Chapel Hill a home for our guests. So from our House to yours, we hope you have a wonderful holiday season!
Blog post by Rachel Thomas, UNC Service Learning Volunteer