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August 15th, 2017
From my vantage point as the Development Assistant, you might well ask, what could I possibly see or know or feel about this incredible mission we all serve at RMHC? After all, most of my days are spent entering donations in our donor database system, lurking about for duplicate entries, creating and sending thank you notes, extracting data for reports and mailings, reconciling monthly financials, searching for new donors, etc.
But I tell you that our mission breathes through every donation I record: I see commitment to our families by the patterns of giving: consecutive years of giving, increases in amounts, lapsed donors re-engaged; and of course, by the beautiful notes and cards and letters that accompany many gifts. These notes and cards are shared with staff, board and volunteers.
I always make sure that my thank you acknowledgments specifically reference their reason for giving, the fundraising they did on our behalf, the memorial or honorarium that sparked the donation. Imagine a company having a Jeans Day on Friday at work and then sending the proceeds to our House in recognition of the importance to them of the work we do.
No matter how mundane, how tedious or repetitious my daily tasks, I only have to look out my office door to see families in all their warmth and love, and unfortunately, in all their stress. I know that my smile, my small interactions with them, may just relieve the pain for a second: the effect upon my own humanity is priceless. My “little” office crises or tensions pale in comparison to what these families and their sick children are going through—and that helps me put everything in perspective.
I have volunteered for Hunger Task Force and Guest House, worked for Jewish Family Services, all performing extremely valuable services for this community. But I have never encountered a non-profit mission so directly and poignantly as I have here at Ronald McDonald House. The love and caring shine through even some of the darkest moments.
Sometimes, as I am out in about in the Great Room, I witness the complexity of life with families in unfamiliar surroundings with sick children and their siblings: a child is crying as he is being wheeled or walked out the front door. Is he/she going to the hospital for another treatment and fears the daily medicine or procedure coming? Or a sibling acting up because he is away from his home base, tired of all the attention focused elsewhere, needing to express his own anguish at the sudden changes.
At the end of the day, while I am driving home to my relatively comfortable suburban lifestyle, (and I have my CD player volume really amped up while listening to my beloved Bach cantatas), I reflect on the fragility of human life, the seeming randomness of what happens in the universe. I am comforted knowing that Ronald McDonald House does its own not so small part to prevent that random cruelty from crushing families at their most vulnerable. I am proud to be part of that effort.
Jerry Ryack, Development Assistant