by Jan Gunter
It came with a cash donation and several checks from a 10-year-old boy who donated his birthday money to the Ronald McDonald House instead of receiving birthday presents.
Then, the next day, Claire Cabler came in with her mother, Cynthia. Claire just celebrated her 11th birthday, and instead of asking for gifts, she asked for donations to Ronald McDonald House Charities.
Wow! Two young kids in two days donating their birthdays for charity!
I am impressed with these young donors. I am impressed with their parents who are helping them make decisions to be self-less and generous. But “impressed” sounds detached and heady. The truth is, I am moved by these expressions of generosity. This note and this sweet encounter with Claire touch me at a heart level. These kids are onto something. They understand the importance of reaching out beyond themselves, even though they may never know the families who benefit from their gifts.
Simply put, they understand the power of giving.
While Claire was here she got to meet a tiny 5-pound newborn who has been staying here at the Ronald McDonald House with his mom and grandma while his twin brother gets strong enough to go home. This mom and grandma were able to thank Claire for her gift. I was happy to connect Claire with one of the tiny recipients of her generosity.
Here at RMHC Austin we work hard to raise money to manage the programs we have in place, and to be good stewards for those who donate. Our budget has grown from $790,000 in 2006 to $1.7 million in 2012. The budget has grown significantly because our programs have grown significantly. Our programs have grown significantly because the need is great. Pediatric medical care in Austin is growing rapidly, and where there are children in the hospital, we are there to help keep their families nearby.
We were serving about 400 families per year in 2006 with one 13-bedroom House. Now with our 30-room House, and three Ronald McDonald Family Rooms, we will serve close to 1500 families this year. We depend on donations – a lot of them – to help all of these families stay together when their children are facing pediatric medical crisis.
Cheers to our donors! Double-cheers today to all our young donors like Claire and the boy in the note! We can’t do it without you. Thank you for giving!
Have you ever donated your birthday for charity? Would you like to? Please tell us about it in the comments. We want to hear your story.