Ronald McDonald House (RMH) Orange has long supported those who have found themselves in difficult circumstances. Open 24 hours a day, 365 days each year, the staff and volunteers at RMH continue to provide vital assistance to it's visitors and their families in times of need. While there are 16 Ronald McDonald Houses scattered across Australia, each one specialises in their own type of care. RMH Orange Executive Officer, Rebecca Walsh, said the Orange chapter of the charity supports families using a range of units at the local hospitals. "Each house supports the families with a child in the hospital which the RMH sits next to and it's based on the specialties of that hospital".
In Orange, families of children or young people with a mental illness that are treated at the Child and Adolescent Mental Health unit are the top users of the house, while mothers-to-be who have been identified as a high risk pregnancy, are the second highest users of the accommodation facility.
Families from across five health districts which cover 86 per cent of the state use the Orange facility while seeking specialist treatment for their child or adolescent, and the best part is that families do not pay for accommodation - it is free. Families have so far stayed from one night up to 90 nights with the top five towns who have used the facilities at RMH Orange are Parkes (100 families), Forbes (60 families), Condobolin (56 families), Cowra (47 families), Grenfell (22 families), and over the past 12 months volunteers have contributed more than 12,000 voluntary hours to keep the house running smoothly.
Volunteers are a vital part of RMH Orange. It's not just assisting around the house where volunteers are so important, but also fundraising and raising awareness of the ongoing work the RMH does. When it comes to fundraising, it's local dollars for local people, with all money raised by RMH Orange staying in Orange.
Ms Walsh said the generosity of many businesses who donate goods or services for the annual RMH Orange Ball, do so in the knowledge their money supports families in need from their own area. "We are so grateful to the businesses, organisations and individuals in Orange and throughout the central and far west who pledge their support to us, and for them it is very gratifying to know their charity dollar stays local".