COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Thanksgiving looks a lot different for everyone this year. For some families, it’s a difficult time to be away from their support systems. But the staff and volunteers at the Ronald McDonald House are hoping to provide a little taste of home during a really unsettling time.
Normally the RMH is full; housing over 100 families at any given time. Now, because of the challenges of the pandemic, they will be celebrating Thanksgiving with 40 families from all over the country.
“This year is especially hard,” said Andrew Nesburg who is staying at the Ronald McDonald House.
Can you imagine dealing with the stress of the pandemic while watching your child fight for her life?
“I know they have a sense of community as they always do, in a pandemic or not, they’re all going through similar situations with their children,” noted Meika Hillis
Meika Hellis is the volunteer manager at the Ronald McDonald House.
“This is our only common space that’s open in the whole house but obviously things are socially distant,” noted Hillis. She says because they’re following the same protocols as Nationwide Children’s Hospital, only two people are allowed per room causing families to leave other children behind or postpone treatment.
“The whole time they’re here, it has to be hard,” explained Hillis. “I can’t imagine.”
She says because of the lack of interaction and situation with COVID-19 the volunteers help bring joy to everyone staying here. “Our volunteers also bring a little of the outside world in that normalcy I feel like.”
They provided a Thanksgiving feast on Tuesday and volunteers will cook the families another Thanksgiving Day meal from scratch.
For the Nesburg family, it has been a tough 2020.
“Especially because its Rose’s first Thanksgiving and in our mind, we had a plan,” explained Emily Nesburg. “Rose had other plans and so did COVID.”
But despite what they’re going through with their daughter, Rose, they’re grateful for what they have been given.
“It’s really provided a sense of home that we haven’t had on a holiday in a while,” said Andrew Nesburg.
“I think it will feel really good! To have turkey and mashed potatoes and all those comforts of home,” explained Nesburg. “It is gonna be nice.”
Emily and Andrews baby Rose is currently being treated here at Nationwide after being born at 24 weeks. She was born at 10 ounces and 6 months later is now ten pounds. They expect to be here well into the new year. They are grateful for the hospitality at the Ronald McDonald House.