May 17, 2017
Families who have been supported by Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) Toronto often find creative ways to give back. Or in the case of the Allard family, from Whitby, Ont., three different ways to give back in two weeks.
Oliver Allard turned one year old on April 22. Now a happy and healthy little boy, he spent his first three weeks of life in the neonatal intensive care unit. During that time, his family – mom, Lisa, dad, Matt, and older brother, Owen – stayed nearby at RMHC Toronto. They had a great experience at the House.
“We are so thankful for RMHC Toronto,” says Lisa. “It was very important to us to be near our newborn during a difficult time and the staff and volunteers helped to make our stay as stress-free as possible.
“Now, one year later, it’s time for us to start giving back to this amazing place.”
And give back they have. When planning Oliver’s first birthday party, the Allards decided to ask for donations in lieu of gifts. They even put McHappy Day socks in the lootbags!
“We had an overwhelming response from family and friends who were more than happy to have an opportunity to donate to RMHC Toronto,” says Lisa. “They saw how much the House helped our family and were glad to support such an important cause. We plan to do this every year.”
Oliver got a very special surprise gift as well: a lemonade stand. His parents had mentioned that they wanted to do some lemonade stand fundraisers, so a carpenter friend surprised them and delivered it on the morning of Oliver’s party.
The Allard Brothers Lemonade Stand made its debut on May 6, coinciding with a local garage sale day. Even on a rainy day, it was a huge success, raising $500 to be split between RMHC Toronto and The Hospital for Sick Children.
“We had some very generous customers at our lemonade stand,” says Lisa. “It seemed as if every other person who came by had a connection with RMHC Toronto or SickKids. It was a very positive experience for everyone and an easy way to spread our love for RMHC Toronto!”
If those two events weren’t enough, the Allards made time to visit McDonald’s on McHappy Day and encouraged their family and friends to do so as well. Big brother Owen loved staying at the House, so his Happy Meal was extra special.
If you’d like to plan a fundraiser of your own for RMHC Toronto, visit makefunmatter.ca for inspiration and to set up an online fundraising page.