Interior Designer, Stylist and Blogger Erica Cook recently donated 23 gift bags – one for each family at Ronald McDonald House Charities® Southern Alberta – to be gifted to parents for Christmas. Below is an excerpt from an article that Erica wrote about the experience on her blog. It is reproduced here with Erica’s permission; you can read the original article on her website here.
As the holiday season approaches and we find ourselves wrapped in the hustle and bustle of preparing for our loved ones, it’s particularly heart-warming and fulfilling to give back to a charity that resonates with us. We all have things that touch our hearts, perhaps based on our own experiences. I’ve always thought that Ronald McDonald House is a wonderful organization.
Once upon a time, several years ago I had a child in the ICU at the local Children’s Hospital. It was a harrowing time, the stress and fear were unbearable. I never had to contemplate how it might have felt to experience this in an unfamiliar setting or city without the support of family or the comforts of home. This is what Ronald McDonald House provides… a home away from home for those with a sick child.
It’s the loving hug for a weary Mom or Dad to return to. It’s a place that provides support staff to talk to when you’re worried and overwhelmed, a sense of normalcy when sitting down to a home cooked meal, and relating to other parents going through similar experiences.
As you probably know, I’m a very loyal Fairmont family member too. I was touched to be invited to their annual Palliser Tree Of Hope night a few weeks back. In the lobby a beautiful tree is decorated with hand made cookie ornaments that can be purchased for $10- all proceeds going back to Ronald McDonald House Charities® Southern Alberta. I love that the Fairmont Palliser offers support in this way. They also offer accommodation to extended family who wish to visit their families staying at Ronald McDonald House over the holiday.
I was always taught as a child that when you do something kind you remain silent about it or it’s no longer kind. My hope in sharing what I was able to arrange is that it might encourage others to donate too.
This year, with the help of the Fairmont Palliser and several other generous donations, I was able to give back. I was told that sometimes toys are donated but rarely is there anything for the parents and family members of a sick child. I had the idea that I could donate 23 gift bags, one for each room at Ronald McDonald House, so that everyone staying at the House had a gift on Christmas day.
As I reached out to people with my idea I was so happy to find that others liked this idea too and wanted to be included. Each bag was carefully filled by several generous donors, some who wish not to be named. I was delighted to have actually pulled this off and that with the help of the Fairmont Palliser and The Tree of hope this may bring a small bit of joy to those who need it.