Each year, local Aubrey Schwartz makes a sizeable donation to the Ronald McDonald House for her birthday and, this year, she made her biggest birthday donation yet.
The donation was taken to the Ronald McDonald House on Sunday, March 6. She took approximately $4,500 worth of donations ranging from cleaning supplies, food, and toys to 40 gallons of pop tabs (which help pay the electric bill).
This is Schwartz’s fifth year taking donations she receives from friends and family for her birthday. Instead of gifts, she asks for items to take to the families staying at the Ronald McDonald House while their loved ones are receiving care at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
In 2021, Schwartz and her parents, Bret and Robin, delivered $1,500 worth of donations and 15 gallons of pop tabs to the Ronald McDonald House.
In 2020, they donated $400 worth of items as well as a large bag of pull tabs.
Schwartz explained she likes to give back for the excellent care she has received over the years at Nationwide and also knows of several Fayette County kids who are currently staying at the Ronald McDonald House or have used it in the past.
Essentially, the Ronald McDonald House of Columbus takes referrals from Nationwide and its affiliates for families with children requiring care. Families are then able to stay at the house while the child is in or receiving consistent care from the hospital.
The house has food on hand, volunteer-provided hot meals, internet access, a laundry room, an area for exercise, a library, a lactation room, etc. It is like a hotel with a creative and inspirational flare in the art and decor that aims to be a home environment, as some families stay there for months.
“It’s a special home away from home for those families with sick children and, hopefully, it gives them some relief knowing they are being taken care of,” she explained.
Schwartz is a 2020 graduate of Miami Trace High School and is currently attending Wilmington College. She is also currently serving as Ohio FFA secretary.
As previously reported, her compassion for the Ronald McDonald House (RMH) began her freshman year of high school.
“During basketball season, my team went to RMH to help cook, prepare, and serve a meal to the families who were staying there. We took donations and were able to receive a tour. One of our friends, Jennifer Sell, who volunteers there, set it up for us. We all truly enjoyed serving and giving back,” explained Schwartz via email. “My sophomore year of high school, I began having some physical health issues with my hands and arms, which resulted with many doctor’s appointments at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.”
Schwartz was diagnosed with Juvenile Arthritis and Madelung’s Deformity. She had surgery to help cure the pain.
“The care I received at Children’s during my time there was outstanding. I couldn’t ask for more caring doctors who actually explained to me what was happening and not just my parents. I knew I wanted to give back to the hospital, but there really isn’t a direct way to do that. Then I remembered how impactful RMH was to Children’s. We’ve had friends and community members who have had to utilize the house and have been told what a blessing it was to take some of the stress away and be close to the hospital,” wrote Schwartz.
There are several ways to help RMH other than donating money or items. One simple way is saving pop tabs, which are melted down to help pay for their electricity bill. Other ways to assist include sending gift cards, volunteering to make meals for the families staying there, sending handmade cards, etc.
The RMH website can be found at www.rmhc-centralohio.org/.
Robin Schwartz contributed to this article. Reach journalist Jennifer Woods at 740-313-0355.