MAKE A DIFFERENCE: Ronald McDonald House creates happy holidays for families with sick children

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

Since 1980, the Ronald McDonald House has been a home-away from home for families with sick children. Ronald McDonald House Charities is built on the simple idea that nothing else should matter when a family is focused on the health of their child: not where they can afford to stay, where they will get their next meal or where they will lay their head at night to rest.

As you can imagine, being away from home can be especially difficult during the holiday season. During the holidays, the non-profit organization creates a Winter Wonderland Experience and a Santa’s Toyshop for families who can’t make it home.

“Watching parents be able to select the perfect gift for their child from our winter wonderland, and knowing they don’t have to leave their hospitalized child to find it, really brings the hidden joy of the space and spirit of the season home, says Cara Arnold, Director of RMHC Dayton Programs.

Here’s an easy way for Make a Difference readers to help out: The charity is gearing up for its annual Radiothon Event from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 7. Call in at 937-937-535-2273 or donate online at:

You can also stop by the house during those hours and drop off donations. The house is located at 555 Valley Street in Dayton. Stop in and say hi, see the construction on the new House and pick up a thank you gift for donating!

Top needed Holiday Wishlist items are:

  • Premade cookie dough icing and sprinkles
  • Stocking stuffers for children of all ages
  • Preteen and Teenage gifts
  • Hot cocoa, marshmallows, peppermints and whipped cream
  • Gift bags and tissue paper
  • Gift cards (Walmart, Amazon, Starbucks, Old Navy, Kohl’s, Chipotle, Doordash, Visa)
  • Diverse and inclusive Barbies and baby dolls
  • Action figures
  • Fidget toys
  • Craft kits for teens
  • Lego sets for young and older children
  • Amazon Fire Stick
  • Coloring books

You can also visit the Amazon Wishlist to order and ship items to the House.

Other ways to help:

  • Is your company or organization looking for a way to give back for the holidays? Consider becoming a Pantry Partner or Meal Provider. Pantry Partners collect a list of most-needed food and cleaning items and deliver them to the House. This is a $500 investment and helps support the families of the House and two Family Rooms at the hospital for the entire month. As a meal provider, up to 10 people shop for and prepare a home-cooked meal in the Ronald McDonald House kitchen!
  • Want to provide a meal, but can’t make it in to cook? You can send gift cards (e.g. Bob Evans, Cracker Barrel) to purchase a meal or even order a catered meal to be delivered.
  • Toys can be donated to the House all year long. A special closet named Josseph’s Closet is filled with gifts so that each child can pick a toy from during their stay. This closet is affectionately named after a little boy, Josseph whose family stayed in the House years ago.


Meredith Moss writes about Dayton-area nonprofit organizations and their specific needs. If your group has a wish list it would like to share with our readers, contact Meredith:

Please include a daytime phone number and a photo that reflects your group’s mission.

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

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