August 8-16, 2006
Once a month, a group of dedicated volunteers from the Parents' Club of Palo Alto & Menlo Park (PAMP) provide a potluck dinner to our local Ronald McDonald House. The last time we were there, Patricia Smith, Program Director, mentioned to me that their toy basket is running low on items and they don't have a way to restock it. During the holidays, they receive an abundance of toys and gifts for the kids from various community groups, and use the donations throughout the year. That stash is running low now, and so PAMP is collecting toys and we are asking people to donate directly to help stock the toy basket until Christmas.
According to Patricia, when children enter Ronald McDonald House for the very first time, they usually head straight for the “Toy Basket,” located near the registration desk. The basket is filled with wonderful items that delight and amuse the children during their long stays at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital or at Ronald McDonald House. During their stay, no matter how long, children are invited to select a toy a day.
If you would like to donate a toy, please keep in mind that due to the children’s compromised immune systems, all toys must be new and in original packaging. Children are ages 1 month to 18 years. Toys should be unwrapped and the majority of items should be no more than $10 each. Items desired include small trucks and cars, Barbies, small craft kits, electronic handheld games, balls, magnetic games, portable CD players or other personal music players, hair barrettes and adornments, hand puppets, watches, yo-yos, small photo albums, jump ropes and movie passes. They currently have plenty of crayons, glue, bubbles, pens, books (coloring or reading), and pencils, so please don't send those.
You can drop off a donation anytime at Ronald McDonald House, 520 Sand Hill Road, Palo Alto, CA 94304. It is across from Stanford Shopping Center, near El Camino Real. You can also use the wish list on Kaboodle as a guide to ordering things online and ship a donation directly to Ronald McDonald House. They will issue a donation receipt to you for your taxes, upon request. PAMP members may also drop off donations at a specified members' homes from August 8-16. A list of drop-off locations will be published via our Yahoo! group for members only. Since the need is ongoing, donations are welcomed throughout the year.
I also think it would be wonderful if you would like to include a homemade get-well card from your family to the kids at RMH. That would be a fun way to involve your kids in the project. If you don't have funds to buy toys right now, think about using art supplies you might already have to make a cheerful card or write a letter offering your good wishes to the families. I think the kids and their parents would appreciate knowing that people in our community care about them. Many of them face serious, life-threatening illnesses, and the ones I've been privileged to meet do so with a great deal of courage. Whatever we can do to brighten their days is small consolation, but it helps. Use this kind of activity as a teaching opportunity to show your own kids that every person, no matter how small, can make a difference to others.