Aubrey Schwartz, a recent graduate of Miami Trace High School and the 2020 Fayette County Fair Queen, along with her parents Bret and Robin, delivered $1,500 worth of donations and 15 gallons of pop tabs to the Ronald McDonald House on Sunday.
Aubrey is currently attending Wilmington College studying agricultural education with a minor in political science. In high school, she was involved in FFA, 4-H, athletics, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Superintendent’s Advisory Council, National Honor Society, numerous community service projects, and was a United States Trotting Association Youth Delegate.
In college, she is involved in Sigma Alpha Sorority, the Honors Program, Aggies & Collegiate 4-H, Collegiate Farm Bureau, and the Ag Ed Society.
A few of the service projects she’s been involved in include: food, coat, and school supply drives, Operation Christmas Child, helping at youth athletic camps, donating to the homeless shelter, as well as helping her sorority raise money to begin an Imaginary Library in Clinton County.
Of all the listed programs and services, Schwartz’s favorite service activity is the annual drive she conducts for the Ronald McDonald House (RMH) of Columbus that allowed the sizable donation to once again be made this year.
“My compassion for RMH began my 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. Approximately three years ago, 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.
The drive is conducted for her birthday, and this year is the third time she has held the drive.
“The first year, I took up about $300 worth of items and pop tabs. The second year was about $400,” explained Schwartz. “I was thankful this year, especially after the tough times, that I was able to do something that could bring joy and light into others’ lives. If there’s anything I can help someone take away from this, it would be the several ways you can help make a difference by just doing a few small things.”
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.
“If you are feeling extra generous, you can help families pay for a room, donate money for meals, buy gift cards for the house, or even attend RMH and serve a meal. The way I have donated the past few years is by calling the House and asking for what items they need specifically and checking their ‘Wish List’ on their website. You can also send the patients at Nationwide Children’s a free card via the hospital website to help brighten up their day,” wrote Schwartz.
The RMH website can be found at www.rmhc-centralohio.org/.
“I am so thankful for all the donations I received this year. I usually expect around $300-$400 worth of donations from family and friends, but $1,500 is insane,” wrote Schwartz. “Thank you again to everyone that has helped me out with all of my projects. I truly could not be more blessed by the people I am surrounded by and the support our community has given me. Thank you.”
Reach journalist Jennifer Woods at 740-313-0355.