When COVID-19 stopped the Ronald McDonald House Mobile, in Mobile, AL, from providing home-cooked meals for the families staying there, WoodmenLife Chapter 1 in Mobile stepped in. It was donations to nonprofits like these that helped carve out bright spots in a challenging year.
This chapter in southern Alabama is no stranger to the Ronald McDonald House, as it has often hosted fundraisers to benefit the 38-room residence. The location provides families a place to stay while their children undergo care at nearby hospitals.
“When I call Mr. Skipper (Chapter 1 President Roger Skipper), he asks what we need,” said Ronald McDonald House Assistant Director Liz Calci. “Then, he says, ‘Let me see what I can do.’”
What this chapter did this time was donate $3,000 as part of the WoodmenLife COVID-19 Relief Challenge, which asked chapters across the country to give to local groups affected by the pandemic. The challenge was a way for WoodmenLife to show how we can make a difference when we work together — even when separated.
Before COVID-19, groups cooked meals at the Ronald McDonald House kitchen, with the goal of providing a “home away from home, right down to the smells,” Calci said. Now, pandemic restrictions prohibit people from coming in to cook, so the residence found other ways to bring in a taste of home.
The residence is using Chapter 1’s donation to bring in homey boxed dinners from a local caterer on the first Thursday of every month. Calci said she expects the donation to last for 11 months.
“That’ll be our night — WoodmenLife Night — to feed the group,” Skipper said.
“We are so fortunate that people like WoodmenLife care enough to donate to these families,” Calci said. “They’re going through so much, and this is one thing they don’t have to worry about.”
Skipper said it was a no-brainer for Chapter 1 to help. During phone calls before the donation, there were comments from members like, “Anytime you want to do something for them, we want to make it happen.”
Another member comment came from a pastor. He said: “I’m not supposed to be proud, but when you see one of those little kids look up at you, you know you’ve done something to help them through this.”
Skipper followed up with his own assessment of his chapter’s able assistance. “Any time you do something for someone, it’s mind-boggling,” he said, “how much it can positively affect a person’s life.”
Elsewhere in the country, more WoodmenLife chapters made a difference where they could by making donations to nonprofits in need.
These are just a snapshot of the efforts of the WoodmenLife family. Visit WoodmenLife.org/Lead-and-Give/Chapters to see how else WoodmenLife chapters help make a difference in their communities and give donations to nonprofits in need.
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