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Ronald McDonald Family Room at EIRMC celebrates one year of service

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A sign in front of EIRMC celebrating the one-year anniversary of the Ronald McDonald Family Room. | Courtesy Ronald McDonald House Charities of Idaho Facebook

IDAHO FALLS — The Idaho Falls-branch of a national non-profit organization is celebrating its first year of helping families during some of the most challenging times in their life.

The Ronald McDonald Family Room at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center is dedicated to supporting families of ill or injured children. A year ago, Sept. 5, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Idaho (RMHC of Idaho) held a ribbon-cutting ceremony in honor of what was a brand new family room at EIRMC. Since then, it’s has served more than 400 families.

“We are so grateful to be here. It’s possible because of our wonderful sponsors, donors and volunteers who have given of their time and resources to make this a reality,” Director of Community Engagement for Eastern Idaho Lori Priest told EastIdahoNews.com. “It’s a wonderful community asset.”

Parents who use the family room have children in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Pediatrics Intensive Care Units, Pediatrics and Behavioral Health Center at EIRMC, according to a news release. The room is open to all parents who have a child at EIRMC, at no charge to them.

Since opening its doors, the family room has served as a “home-away-from-home.” It’s provided parents with a place to sleep, relax and have a snack, eat a hot meal, do laundry and take time for themselves.

Everything provided to parents in the Ronald McDonald Family Room is made available through donations, according to Priest.

“Every day is a new day here, as far as what family needs support,” Priest said. “We enjoy supporting families.”

The Ronald McDonald Family Room at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center. | Courtesy Ronald McDonald House Charities of Idaho

Due to COVID-19, the family room shut down from mid-March through mid-May and volunteers haven’t been allowed. But Priest said that hasn’t stopped the staff from finding ways to help.

They are currently using only two of their four bedrooms so that they can socially distance the families that need to stay there, while also providing each of them with their own bathroom.

“One of our concerns is that we’ll have to tell someone, ‘There’s not a room for you.’ But it works out,” she said. “It’s just marvelous because some of these needs will be met (while staying at the family room) and they’ll be ready to go home, and then (another) family will come, and we’ll have a place for them.”

RMHC of Idaho is unable to celebrate its one-year milestone with the community in person because of the pandemic. Although they are finding other ways to celebrate virtually, they’re also encouraging the community to purchase birthday gifts for the family room.

Priest explained that donating items from their Amazon wish list will help them continue to serve others. Items on their list, such as snacks and grocery gift cards, can be shipped straight to the family room.

“We appreciate all of the support that they (the community) have provided through donations, their time, their kindness and love,” Priest said. “We look forward to their support, so we can provide services to our families for years to come.”

To view the wishlist, click here.

Courtesy Ronald McDonald House Charities of Idaho

Where parents can sleep in the Ronald McDonald Family Room at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center. | Courtesy Ronald McDonald House Charities of Idaho
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