Ronald McDonald House makes room

Submitted by Suzanne Pescod

McHappy Day this year was like no other McHappy Day we have ever experienced.

What is usually a day of fun, activities, and fundraising - turned into something above and beyond any other day in our history. 

Early in the morning we started receiving our first families from Fort McMurray - families with sick children who couldn't be in big public spaces and needed the kind of home provided by the Ronald McDonald House. 

Staff and volunteers wasted no time getting the House ready to take on an influx of families.

Although already at capacity with 32 rooms full - we moved out office space, our theatre room - even our fitness room, to bring in extra beds, bedding and anything that we could do to give families a comfortable and safe space for them to stay.
— Suzanne Pescod, Ronald McDonald Charities House Northern Alberta

Our Edmonton community answered the call when we needed cots, bedding, and food to serve dozens more people than we normally had staying here. Meal group volunteers were asked to prepare enough for 150 people instead of the usual 75 - and not one meal group turned down the call.

Lunch items were donated, extra volunteers helped us make room, keep the house clean, and provide fun activities for the families who had been through such a traumatic ordeal.

Volunteers even took in pets of families who couldn't bring them to the Ronald McDonald House. 

Months later, some of the Fort McMurray families are returning to their homes - and we are so grateful to Edmontonians for helping us to keep families close.