Local McDonald’s Restaurants Bring Back “Sleeves for Support” Fundraiser to Support Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Ohio

Local McDonald’s Restaurants Bring Back “Sleeves for Support” Fundraiser to Support Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Ohio

Toledo, OHIO — Local McDonald’s restaurants are providing another way to support Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Ohio with the return of the Sleeves for Support program. This fundraiser was developed in partnership with Coca-Cola and will generate funding for RMHC through sales of insulated beverage sleeves specifically designed to hold 30-ounce cups from McDonald’s. Sleeves will be available for purchase beginning September 6 at $6 each while supplies last.

“We’re excited to work with our partners at Coca-Cola to provide another option for our customers to support RMHC while enjoying their McDonald’s favorites,” said local McDonald’s Owner/Operator and RMHC of Northwest Ohio Board member, Jessica Hall. “Not only do these insulated sleeves help RMHC, they also help keep our guests’ drinks colder longer and are the perfect game day or tailgate accessory!”

New for 2022, the Sleeves for Support will feature an exclusive Ohio State Buckeyes® design in scarlet and gray, perfect for football season. The classic red insulated sleeve will also be available for purchase.

“The Sleeves for Support campaign is one of many ways McDonald’s and its customers lend their support RMHC,” said Chad Bringman, Executive Director/President, RMHC of Northwest Ohio. “McDonald’s was the founding mission partner of our charity when the first Ronald McDonald House opened 45 years ago, and the local McDonald’s team has always been an integral part of helping us fulfill our mission to create, find and support programs that directly improve the health and well-being of children and their families.”

In addition to Sleeves for Support, local McDonald’s restaurants give back through the Round-Up for RMHC program, where patrons can round their order up to the nearest dollar; through the Penny Per Happy Meal initiative where a portion of every Happy Meal sold benefits the Charity; and through RMHC Donation Boxes where customers can drop their spare change. Last year, more than $200,000 was raised locally through these campaigns, and directly contributed to RMHC of Northwest Ohio.

Ragen and Lowe family grateful for stay at RMHC of NW Ohio.

Ragen and Lowe family grateful for stay at RMHC of NW Ohio.

For Danielle Ragen and Matthew Lowe, it was just a normal Wednesday night and they were ready to leave for a Detroit Tigers’ baseball game. Danielle felt some discomfort and pain in her stomach and that’s when the Ragen/Lowe family decided to go to Bellevue Hospital for a check-up. Shortly after, doctors decided that at 32 weeks pregnant, Danielle was to give birth to her baby boy, Daxton, on July 6.

Once Daxton was stable, Bellevue Hospital was able to transport him to the Toledo Children’s Hospital where he has been monitored since. Danielle, Matthew and their 3-year-old daughter Brooklyn arrived shortly after and began their stay at the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Ohio.

“We knew of the Ronald McDonald House, but we didn’t fully understand what they provide for families,” said Danielle. “Brooklyn thinks it is a big hotel; she loves it.” Matthew added, “The Ronald McDonald House has been a real blessing to our family. Not having to find daycare or travel two hours a day really allows us to focus on Daxton.”

Family support has also been a huge asset to the Ragen/Lowe family over the last couple of weeks. Friends and neighbors have mowed their lawn, as well as family members have checked in on their home, collected mail, and done countless other acts of kindness.

When asked about which room is her favorite, Brooklyn is quick to say, “My favorite room is the playroom where I get to play with the baby dolls.” Brooklyn has been a noticeable fan of the playground and playroom, always with a smile and enjoying the amenities that are provided.

The Ragen/Lowe family went home on August 8, 2022. “We are over-the-moon grateful for what Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Ohio has provided us, but we’re excited to go home,” said Matthew.

At Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Ohio, we provide comfort, care and support, so families can focus on the thing that matters most, being close to their hospitalized children. Consider making a donation to Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Ohio so that we can support families like the Ragen and Lowe family in their time of need.

Donate HERE.

Volunteer Spotlight – Hospitality Suite

Volunteer Spotlight – Hospitality Suite

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Ohio expanded its presence to area hospitals with our Hospitality Suite in 2019. The goal of the Hospitality Suite is to keep families closer together. It’s staffed for four hours a day to allow parents and loved ones to stay within arms-length of their child.

Meet Elaine, one of the volunteers at our Hospitality Suite at the ProMedica Children’s Hospital. Elaine has been a volunteer with RMHC of NW Ohio for over a year. She is a stay-at-home-mom with a passion for volunteering.

Some of Elaine’s duties at the Hospitality Suite include: making coffee, cleaning, restocking the snacks and being a friendly face for families.

“Being there to support families is a big part of volunteering at the Hospitality Suite,” says Elaine. “Having someone for parents to talk to that is not a medical person, gives parents a chance to clear their head and refresh.”

RMHC of NW Ohio currently has two volunteers for the Hospitality Suite, however, we are looking for more volunteers.

“Everyone should volunteer. It’s wonderful to be able to support someone in their time of need and the medical staff” says Elaine.

To donate goods or to volunteer at the Hospitality Suite, contact Wendy@rmhctoledo.org.

Braniecki Family – Celebrating Lyla’s First Birthday!

Braniecki Family – Celebrating Lyla’s First Birthday!

Kari and Matthew Braniecki stayed at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Ohio for 74 nights in 2021 while their daughter Lyla recovered in NICU. Last month, the Braniecki family celebrated Lyla’s first birthday! We caught up with the Braniecki family to see how Lyla is doing and for them to share their thoughts on RMHC. Below is a message from Kari Braniecki:

My husband and I came to RMHC because our daughter Lyla was born 13 weeks early and was going to require a long term NICU stay. We live an hour away in Marblehead, so the option to stay somewhere that was walking distance from my newborn was a beautiful gift. It was especially helpful in the first couple weeks as I was recovering from a severe case of preeclampsia as well as a C-section. As Lyla got bigger and stronger and more aware, I spent longer and longer days in the NICU to work on feeding. To not have to take 2 hours a day out of that time driving to and from Marblehead was priceless.

Lyla is doing fantastic. She is hitting milestones for her true age (instead of her adjusted age which is 3 months younger) and is such a happy, inquisitive, spirited little girl.

Other than the house being within walking distance to the hospital, I really appreciated the homemade dinners every night. It was such a blessing to be able to spend as much time as I could with my daughter and not have to worry about grocery shopping or cooking. The open kitchen/pantry was amazing as well.  It was so easy to grab leftovers or something tasty from the shelves for a quick lunch or breakfast. And I know sweets get a bad rap, but at that stressful time, I really needed comfort food!  When I would walk into RMHC and smell cookies or brownies baking, it brought a smile to my face (and stomach!) every time! Everything was so delicious!!

Even though our family and friends could not visit us at the house, they were incredibly supportive while we were going through this NICU experience. My husband and I were able to be strong for our daughter because we had so many people helping us to stand on our feet day in and day out.

Everybody was so kind at RMHC. To come back to the house after sometimes worrisome or stressful days in the NICU and to have everybody you pass say hello and give you a smile is something that touched my heart. Some even got to know who I was and would ask about Lyla.  In a place where you are away from your friends and family (especially during COVID times), it was comforting to have someone know you well enough to know what was going on in your life and to care enough to ask about it.

Thank you to RMHC and to everyone who works for and volunteers with this amazing organization. They provided us with the ability to be physically close to our daughter for the duration of her hospital stay and that was the most amazing gift that we could have during that time.

Consider a gift to RMHC of NW Ohio so that we are able to support families like the Braniecki family. Give HERE.

Volunteer Appreciation Month – Deric Vaughn Bolden

Volunteer Appreciation Month – Deric Vaughn Bolden

Deric Vaughn Bolden

Deric (Vaughn) Bolden is a volunteer at Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) of Northwest Ohio. He has been volunteering at RMHC for a little more than a year and has a passion for giving back and helping others.

Vaughn’s story is one of redemption.

Prior to volunteering at RMHC, Vaughn was going through a dark period of his life. Checking himself into rehab, Vaughn has now come out of rehab more than two years sober. “When I was in that period of my life, I realized that when I become in a better place, I have to do the right thing and give back to others” says Vaughn. Seeing commercials for RMHC, Vaughn picked up the phone and was eager to volunteer at the House.

While each volunteer at RMHC has specific tasks that they work on, Vaughn is a jack-of-all-trades. Some of his tasks are cleaning, answering calls and maintaining the front desk and “doing anything asked of him”.

While not volunteering at RMHC, Vaughn is an author and artist. He has written two children’s books and has painted a beautiful piece of art displayed in the playroom. His children’s books titled “Benny in the Race” teaches children to stay motivated and never give up, while “A Boy Named Hero” is a story about a kid with a disability who is bullied and becomes a superhero who helps others with disabilities. The piece of art that Vaughn created for the playroom is shown below.

When asked about what advice Vaughn would give to others on volunteering, he says, “It’s a great choice to give back to others and do something that is bigger than yourself.” Vaughn told us that volunteering has taught him to be mindful of others. “Some people may be having the worst day of their life. It really puts everything into perspective and teaches you that life may not be as bad as you think.”

Volunteers at RMHC of NW Ohio are crucial to our organization’s impact on families. To volunteer at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Ohio, please contact Wendy Bejaige at wendy@rmhctoledo.org.

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Ohio is a finalist for the “Best Place To Volunteer” in the Toledo Area Parent News 2021 Family Favorite Awards. To vote for RMHC, click HERE.

Volunteer Appreciation Month – Mike Grames

Volunteer Appreciation Month – Mike Grames

Mike Grames - Volunteer Appreciation Month

Mike Grames is a volunteer at Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) of Northwest Ohio where he focuses on baking for families. Since his retirement nearly 13 years ago, volunteering has been a part of his life. He spent eight years volunteering for the Toledo Area Humane Society and has been volunteering at RMHC for the past four-plus years.

Every year, millions of pounds of pull tabs are donated to RMHC to fund the pantry.

“My interest in volunteering began when I was dropping off pull tabs and noticed that they (RMHC) were in need of someone to volunteer to bake/cook,” says Mike. “Initially it was just holidays, but I guess they liked my baking and asked me to come in twice a week.”

Every week, Mike is at RMHC on Tuesday and Friday to bake goods for families.

“If I can make cookies, brownies or anything else that provides a couple minutes of enjoyment for families that are going through a difficult time, then my goal is accomplished” explains Mike.  Mike says he doesn’t have any favorites among his goodies but a quick poll of the staff indicated that his Almond Joy cookies are No. 1.

Volunteers are always needed at RMHC for different tasks.

Wendy Bejaige, Director of Operations, says that “Mike is always eager to help. Whether it’s coming in to bake for holidays or parties, he always has a smile on his face and is willing to do more.” For example, Bejaige cited a 15-year-old was at RMHC with her family, and Mike took the time to teach her how to bake during his free time.

If you’re considering volunteering, Mike wants you to know that “If you have the time, means and ability, there is nothing like helping others. What you get back is way more than what you give.”

To volunteer at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Ohio, please contact Wendy Bejaige at wendy@rmhctoledo.org.

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Ohio is a finalist for the “Best Place To Volunteer” in the Toledo Area Parent News 2021 Family Favorite Awards. To vote for RMHC, click HERE.