HELPING FAMILIES - Ronald McDonald House held their annual FortisAlberta Light up the House event in Red Deer. Todd Colin Vaughan/Red Deer Express

WATCH: Red Deer’s Ronald McDonald House lights up for families

Ronald McDonald House Central Alberta kicked off holiday season

Ronald McDonald House kicked off the holiday season with their FortisAlberta Light Up the House event in Red Deer Dec. 1st.

The Ronald McDonald House supports families by providing a place for families to stay while their child is sick or injured at the Red Deer Regional Health Centre.

Jason Evanson, CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern and Central Alberta, was excited to welcome families, donors, staff, guests and volunteers to their facility.

“At the Ronald McDonald House, we support families with sick and injured children all year round, 365 days a year,” he said. “The holiday season is especially important for us because families are facing difficulties and are on a tough mental journey and need a lift.”

Evanson said it is their mission to ensure that families can still make lasting memories during the Christmas season.

“Families are so appreciative of everything the community does to support them here at the Ronald McDonald House,” he said. “Sometimes it is simply small acts of kindness that take place here at the house that provides the boost, other times it’s practical considerations like having a place to stay when you are coming into Red Deer from far away for treatment.”

He added volunteers take pride in doing everything, including all the little things like having fresh baking in the house.

“We do everything we can to make sure people can take their minds off of what is going on next door and just feel better,” he said.

The house is also deeply reliant on the generous time given by volunteers.

“They contribute to all manners of what we do here at the house. Everything from checking families in, to cooking meals in the evening, to even preparing, in our case, a special Christmas Shopping Space where families can choose gifts for one another,” Evanson said.

The Christmas Shopping Space allows families, who may have not had time while their child has been sick or injured, to still give gifts to one another.

“We take all these donated gifts from the community, we tuck them away into our Christmas room and families are invited to pick out special gifts for one another so that everyone can experience the holiday season the way it is supposed to be,” Evanson said.

McDonald’s funds 15 per cent of the operating costs at the house, while the other 85 per cent comes from community donation.

“We simply couldn’t get by without the help of everyday individuals, corporations and groups that get together behind our cause,” Evanson said. “There are so many ways you can reach out to Ronald McDonald House. You can volunteer, you can visit our website or you can give the house a call and make a contribution to our organization this holiday season.”

He added, “Thank you so much Red Deer for supporting our organization and making the lives of the families we support a little bit easier.”

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