Aubrey Schwartz, a Miami Trace High School senior, recently donated $400 worth of items as well as a large bag of pull tabs to the Ronald McDonald House (RMH) for her 18th birthday.
Schwartz explained by email, “I collected items myself and from community members to donate to the House. If community members wanted to donate money, they could do that as well. I either purchased needed items with that money or simply donated it straight to the House.”
The Ronald McDonald House partners with Nationwide Children’s Hospital so families of their patients staying there have access to housing, meals and daily needs.
“It’s much like a hotel, but with reduced costs,” explained Schwartz.
Schwartz, herself, has had “several health problems” in her life and Nationwide Children’s Hospital has helped her “tremendously.”
“I’ve been a patient of Children’s for around 6 years now,” explained Schwartz. “At the beginning, I was terrified to go up there and get any work done, but now I feel completely comfortable every time I go. I know there aren’t a bunch of ways to give directly back to the hospital, but RMH helps the families that are in the hospital, so I figured this was my best shot and I couldn’t be happier I chose to do this.”
Schwartz isn’t the only person to attempt to help the RMH programs. Pull tabs (from aluminum cans, aka pop tabs) are collected all year by various people and are then donated to the RMH so they can then be sold to recycling stations. The profits from that can directly help in covering costs for the programs.
“My family and other families collect the pop tabs all year, but I’ve only asked for donations right around my birthday,” explained Schwartz. “I know our community does a lot for our schools and other organizations, so I don’t want to strain them out.”
As time goes on and the use of pop cans lowers, Schwartz explained that collecting the pull tabs has become more difficult. She has requested that people who still use cans to save as many pull tabs as possible.
Although the most challenging part of undertaking this endeavor was getting the word out to the community, Schwartz explained that she received a lot of support, especially from her parents as this isn’t the first year she has chosen to donate.
“When I started this last year, I think my parents were kind of surprised I didn’t want anything for my birthday, but they wanted to help however I asked them to,” wrote Schwartz.
The most rewarding part to the endeavor is getting to see the faces of all the workers light up.
“When I rolled the cart of items in — when I told them I had some donations, they said, ‘okay bring them in.’ But when I did, they did not expect all I brought,” she explained.
There are several ways to help the RMH besides collecting pull tabs and donations, according to Schwartz.
One of those other ways was when the Miami Trace girls basketball team served a meal there a few years ago. According to Schwartz, this meal was what opened her eyes to how she could assist the RMH.
“You and your group pays for the food that will be used. You’re partnered with a trained chef. You prepare, cook, serve and clean up the meal,” wrote Schwartz. “This ensures the families there have a hot meal at least once a day. They allow breakfast, lunch and dinner to be served.”
“I’d like to thank anyone who donated last year and this year,” she wrote. “Whether it was money to buy supplies, pop tabs or items themselves, I really appreciate all the support. All the supplies donated are eventually going to be put to use. I’d also like to thank my parents for supporting me for doing this.”
Schwartz was recognized by the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio on its Facebook page, “Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio.”
Reach Jennifer Woods at 740-313-0355 or on Twitter @JennMWoods.