COLUMBUS (WCMH) – The Ronald McDonald House of Central Ohio recently announced its expansion in order to give more than 200 families a home away from home as their children receive treatment at a central Ohio hospital.
Staff members said they could not run all the day-to-day operations at the house without the support of several dedicated volunteers.
One volunteer goes above and beyond every week to bring much-needed smiles to these families with an activity she calls Fun With Fran.
“I always like to try and have seasonal shapes,” said volunteer Fran Green. “That way, families that are here week after week can keep up with the seasons
An avid crafter and cardmaker, Green has spent every Wednesday night over the last six years volunteering her creative talents, hosting Fun With Fran, a banner-making activity for families staying at the Ronald McDonald House.
“You get to know them, and the activities are so appreciated,” Green said. “The evenings get very, very long.”
Green brings hundreds of cut-out shapes and all art supplies for families to create unique banners with inspirational messages.
“For the kids at home, for the kids in the hospital,” she said. “So many of them are hung on the walls in the hospital.”
Over the last six years, Green estimates thousands of banners have been made.
“It feeds my soul,” she said.
To show appreciation for Green’s dedication, staff members at the house surprised her with a cake to celebrate her sixth anniversary.
“It’s all like we’re one big family here and the volunteers are part of that as well because we basically cannot run this big house without volunteers,” said Ronald McDonald House Communications Manager Rick Shepherd. “They’re the heart of the house.”
That’s a heart that consists of hundreds of volunteers covering various shifts throughout the house each month.
“I’ve left at one o’clock in the morning before,” Green admits.
On Wednesday nights, time restrictions don’t exist for her.
“You know, if there is someone here making banners, I will stay,” she said.
Green’s dedication is matched only by the size of her heart.
“These parents have absolutely nothing they can do for their children, and to be able to make them something from your heart that you can give them to put in their room means a lot, means a whole lot,” she said.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, when families couldn’t gather together in the dining room for activities, Green made banner kits for the kids to construct up in their rooms.
The Ronald McDonald House is always looking for volunteers like Green. For more information on the expansion and helping out in the future, click here.