Four State families with children in the hospital won’t go without gifts under the tree this holiday season — all thanks to a group of selfless volunteers.
It’s true there’s no place like home, but that’s not an option for some parents and family members who don’t live in Joplin but have a child in the hospital, like Rachael Baker from Arma, whose son was born premature and spent 16 days in the Freeman NICU.
“Luckily having Ronald McDonald House right here by the hospital, I didn’t travel back and forth from home, so that saved us money, to where we can have Christmas for the kids and help out with other people who don’t have that,” says Rachael Baker.
And, those families that will be here over the holidays won’t go without gifts, thanks to Freeman Health System volunteers that brought presents they paid for themselves to put under the tree.
“And they don’t have time to go out shopping and so the Freeman Volunteers want to help make up for that so they offer these gifts for them and they just have so much fun doing that because so many of our volunteers are older and they just have fun buying those gifts for children,” says Linda McIntosh, Freeman Volunteer Program Manager.
But kids won’t be the only ones affected by the volunteers’ generosity.
“Mostly they bring gifts for the children but they will also bring items for moms and dads too because the holidays is just a really rough time to have a baby in the hospital,” says McIntosh.
“When they were sending him over here I thought “Oh what am I going to do, I can’t afford to stay in a hotel, I can’t afford to drive back and forth,’” says Rachael Baker.
Baker stopped by to thank volunteers for all they did for her and her family and says she’ll never again take the house that love built, or the people volunteering inside it, for granted.