I’ve only been involved in the Ronald McDonald House of Galveston for a little over a year, but I’m constantly amazed at how much Galveston and the surrounding areas do. We live in a loving and caring community that has supported the house for the last 30 years.
It’s a testament to the staff that many of them have worked at the house for many years — up to 28 of those 30 years. In this day of job-hoppers, it’s unusual to find such dedicated people.
There are hundreds of individuals and organizations that do the multiple tasks to keep things running smoothly. There are weekly volunteers who do everything from answering telephones to driving families to stores, to running games, to housekeeping chores.
There are the local bakeries and groceries that supply day-old pastries. There are volunteers who make the pastry runs and collect the coins from the canisters at local businesses.
The local McDonald’s storeowners have been unbelievable in their contributions. The sheriff’s office and their youth outreach program organize a huge drive for pantry goods, paper products and needed cash every year.
Many local businesses, such as American National Insurance Company and Millers Seawall Grill, lend their employees for volunteer days. A local fishing club sponsors a fishing outing for the children. A Mardi Gras Krewe and a cooking club sponsor fundraising parties.
Galveston school children donated the beautiful stained glass window in the quiet room. There are so many local individuals, organizations and businesses that cook meals for everyone in the house that dinners are provided an average of five or six days every week. The local Jeep Association does a yearly suds and cereal run that supplies all the needs for laundry soap and breakfast food for the year. The American Legion Motorcycle Club collects an overwhelming number of toys for the children every year at Christmas.
A quilting club supplies a beautiful quilt to each child, as well as others for the house. Another organization supplies Build-A-Bears for all the children. The University of Texas Medical Branch and Texas A&M University at Galveston students find time in their busy schedules to lend a hand. And the list goes on and on.
With all of this and more, there are still times when it’s difficult to balance the budget, especially when dealing with hurricanes, floods, economic downturns, the corrosiveness of the island climate and other unforeseen conditions. In every case, some individual or charitable organization has stepped up to meet the need.
I’m so glad my husband and I decided to move to such a caring community. A house built by love, indeed.