A loving support system
Children facing a serious illness need a network of support to recover, and it begins with having parents and loved ones by their side. But when a family has to travel to access needed care, especially for an extended time, it can add financial strain to an already stressful situation. To help reduce this burden, Ronald McDonald House Charities provides a home away from home, free of charge, to families facing such a crisis.
There are Ronald McDonald Houses around the world, and each location plays an important role in its community. Located in Albany, NY, the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Capital Region (RMHC-CR) gives parents and guardians across the region a comfortable place to stay, and much needed solace, as long as needed. It’s a loving support system that makes it easier for families to be actively involved in their children’s care.
Founded in 1982, the Albany chapter serves more than 400 families a year. The house has 25 private rooms and offers families access to kitchens, a dining area, laundry rooms, a family entertainment room and other amenities. Plus, several nights a week, guests are treated to home-cooked meals prepared by volunteers.
RMHC-CR also operates two other local facilities. One is a room inside a children’s hospital in Albany where families can rest and recharge. The other is a retreat facility in Lake George, New York, that is available to families with a child facing a serious illness.
“The staff and other volunteers of the Ronald McDonald House work so hard to reduce the stress on parents and guardians caring for a child experiencing an illness.”
– Michael Venezio, President, Northeastern Insurance
Rising to the challenge
Northeastern Insurance started supporting RMHC-CR just a few months before the Covid-19 pandemic began, so its 22 employees had to quickly think of creative ways to help. With in-person visits limited, the agency raised and donated money virtually to help pay for day-to-day necessities such as toiletries, laundry essentials, bedding, Covid tests and more. The staff also participated in food drives and helped prepare meals for families staying at the house.
When the lockdown prevented kids from enjoying regular outings and activities, the agency brought much needed entertainment to the children. It purchased new PlayStation and Xbox gaming consoles, plus games, along with a 55” TV to play them on. Then they set it up in the family entertainment room and the kids were delighted. With everything they were going through, it gave them a chance to just be kids and feel a little more at home.
“We’re proud to support Ronald McDonald House Charities,” said Michael Venezio, President of Northeastern Insurance. “The staff and other volunteers work so hard to reduce the stress on parents and guardians caring for a child experiencing an illness.”
Expanding the nonprofit’s reach
In addition to donating time and money, Northeastern Insurance also helps spread the good word about nonprofit’s mission. Marketing Director Daphne Braun works closely with the leadership of RMHC-CR to coordinate events, amplify its outreach and increase its pool of donors. It’s a virtuous cycle that expands across the community.
“The support of local partners like Northeastern Insurance, Safeco and Liberty Mutual Insurance is vital to our mission of keeping families close to their child in treatment with all RMHC services provided free of charge,” said Dr. David Jacobsen, CEO of RMHC-CR. “When a child is in the hospital it’s important to care for the entire family. The support of our partners makes that happen and we’re so grateful.”
“When a child is in the hospital it’s important to care for the entire family. The support of our partners makes that happen and we’re so grateful.”
– David Jacobsen, CEO, Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Capital Region
Relying on community compassion
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