We spent our first holiday, Thanksgiving, as parents in a hospital. Thanks to our own parents, we enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner in a hospital cafeteria wrapped in love and support.
It’s been eight years since that first Thanksgiving.
In the years since, I give thanks for being surrounded by such wonderful, supportive, caring and giving people. The day that we walked out of that hospital for the first time as a family, I promised myself that I would always find a way to give back, a way to show my gratitude to all of the people who helped make such an unbearable time for us just a little more bearable.
From our parents who brought us home cooked meals every single day, to the strangers who made quilts for Mr.T, to the nurses who sat by his side and knit him hats and booties all night long. We received so much support during those 6 weeks we were in the hospital.
It has become a family tradition to try and find new ways to give back. Sometimes it’s by doing a walk to support Sick Kids. Sometimes it’s by making a donation to the hospital or by filling a shoe box with gifts for someone less fortunate.
Last year, just in time for Christmas, we made a donation to Ronald McDonald House in Hamilton. I contacted them directly and found out what items they were most in need of; food and toiletries were big ones, and we packed up a few bags of items and dropped them off.
I walked out of the house in tears. I looked in the eyes of some of the parents that were staying in the house and I could feel their fear, I could taste their pain. I wanted to run to them, to hug them, to tell them I was so sorry they were going through this. I wanted to be able to say it will be alright in the end but I knew that I couldn’t say that. I knew that not everyone’s story had a happy ending like mine.
I wished that I could do more. I had to do more.
Christmas is especially magical when you have children. I understand the pain of spending a holiday in the hospital. Thanksgiving is special but it’s not Christmas. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to spend Christmas away from home, in a hospital with no idea if or when you will be able to take your family home.
I decided then that I wanted to try and do more. I reached out to Ronald McDonald House to find out how I could help.
That’s where Stuff a Stocking with Hope was born.
Every year Ronald McDonald House assembles a stocking and places one on each door of each family room. One for each family staying at RMCH Hamilton on Christmas Day.
41 stockings in total.
We are taking on this challenge as a family and we need your help.
We are collecting donations to fill 41 stockings for each family that will be spending Christmas at Ronald McDonald House.
This is a big task and I can’t do it alone.
If you would like to help us by contributing I have included a list of suggested items. The following items will fill generic stockings for each family:
Individually packaged snacks (granola bars, crackers, Rice Krispie squares etc…)
Scent free hand sanitizer
Rolled up blanket
Mittens/Scarf/Hat (for the walk from house to hospital)
Journal and Pen
Card games (ie:Uno, deck of playing cards)
Puzzle books (word searches, crosswords etc..)
Gift Cards (Coffee, Gas, Indigo/Chapters, Shoppers Drug Mart)
Toiletries (Deodorant, Toothbrushes, Toothpaste, Hand lotion)
Along with all of the goodies collected, each stocking will include an invitation to a Winter Wonderland room where families can ‘shop’ for Christmas gifts. If you would prefer to donate items for the Winter Wonderland room they will be more than welcome. Ronald McDonald House typically receives many toy donations for kids ages 2-8 for that reason items that are most needed to fill their Winter Wonderland room are gifts for infants (ages birth to 12 months), tweens/teens (ages 9-18) and adults.
If you are interested in taking part in this initiative please reach out to me. If you are interested in donating money for me to purchase the items please see our Go Fund me page
Please know that any contribution you are able to make will be so appreciated.
Together we can bring a little bit of hope to a family who is struggling through a difficult experience.