I have heard for many years about the Ronald McDonald House (RMH), but had never been there to see what it was like firsthand. Last evening I had a blogger opportunity to get an inside look. When I got there I was so glad I took the time to do that because I learned so much about this home away from home. The Indianapolis RMH is situated on the Indiana University-Purdue University of Indianapolis (IUPUI) college campus near Riley Hospital for Children on a little tree-lined side street off Michigan Street. It's purpose is to offer a place to stay for families whose children are hospitalized so that they can be near them.
|The Ronald McDonald House of Indiana on Limestone St.|
|These sweet garden statues at the front entrance really give the place a feeling of "home".|
I got there early and stood outside for awhile even though it was cool and it had rained all day. It felt so cozy and safe to be there. The RMH has a circular drive at the front entrance that offers a warm welcome to visitors who are dealing with great stress in their lives.
Before I show you more of the house I want to tell you the reason we were there. We were there to share information on the Happy Meal Books program and on the healthier choices that are now available in the Happy Meal.
Per McDonald's: McDonald's is celebrating the joy of reading with the Happy Meal Books promotion, which coincides with National Family Literacy Day. Through Nov. 14th, children who order Happy Meals will be able to enjoy one of four different original books featuring characters from McDonald's advertising campaign. Each of the four limited-edition books brings nutrition, imagination and play to life in a way kids can understand. Also each book also comes with its very own Happy Meal bookmark that kids can personalize.
Here are two of the little books with their bookmarks.
In conjunction with books being placed in Happy Meals, McDonald's of Central Indiana is leading the "Give a Book, Get a Book" campaign. Book donation sites will be set up around the area at the RMH, local libraries and Indy Reads from Nov. 1-14. In exchange for the donation of a new or gently used children's book, customers will receive a Be Our Guest card for a free Happy Meal. In addition, participating libraries will host a "Happy Meal Day" with activities for kids and McDonald's Happy Meal books.
McDonald's also wants to emphasize that healthier choices are now available in the Happy Meal. Apple slices automatically come with the meal along with choice of drink which includes fat free chocolate or white milk, and a smaller version of french fries. For customers who prefer apples only, an additional bag of apple slices is available to replace the fries.
This is interesting to me as my children are grown now but I have a 6 month old grandson who is of a new generation. I remember many visits to McDonald's when my kids were young.
But back to the RMH. I want to show you some things I thought were great! Right inside the front door is this adorable McBear shadowbox above a display case.
I wish you could see the McBears in person. They appear to be all hand stitched by what I would imagine were some talented and generous volunteers.
Below the McBears you can see some pop tab art. McDonald's Pop Tab Program is still very much alive. On top of the display case are flyers for many other fundraising programs and events.
Closeby, in a wooden toy chest, there are donated bears - gifts for the guests;
all in a comfortable waiting area
with a ceiling of painted clouds and sky.
This wall shows a display of donations from people who have generously given with their hearts.
There are many other comfortable areas in RMH for the 58 families that stay there at any given time to relax. While we were there, a call came over the intercom inviting the families to have dinner in the dining room. We were told the rooms are first come, first served and families can stay as long as they like. The charge is $15 per night, but no one is turned away if they cannot pay.
Soon over 300 volunteers will transform this RMH into a winter wonderland. On Thursday, December 5th, there will be entertainment, cookies and hot chocolate throughout the day, and dinner at 6 PM. Ceremonial lighting of the RMH's exterior holiday decorations will take place at 7 PM. The Holiday Open House is free and open to the public. Visitors are encouraged to bring donations of non-perishable food items to stock the RMH's food pantries or bring items from the holiday wish list.
This is a sponsored post on behalf of McDonald's. I received two of the little books, dinner, Happy Meal gift cards and a $10 Amazon gift card for attending the event. All comments are 100% my own.