Family donates to Ronald McDonald House
Published 9:25 am Wednesday, December 24, 2014
For months on end, Brittney Gibbs and her family spent several sleepless nights at the Duke Children’s Hospital and Health Center in Durham, North Carolina. Instead of being focused on where their next meal would come from or when they’d be able to get some rest, though, they were worried about the health of their ailing child.
With the help of the Ronald McDonald House, Gibbs and her fiance, Michael Vandiford, Jr., were given three warm meals each day, a place to sleep each night and things to do while they spent six excruciating months in limbo.
Ultimately, Vandiford’s daughter, Emmilyn, passed away due to complications from a rare heart condition called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS), but Gibbs has turned that the life-changing event into an opportunity to help others.
“This would have been even more difficult without the Ronald McDonald House’s help,” she said. “This is, by far, the hardest times that these parents will face.”
Gibbs organized a household goods drive, “Operation RMH,” calling on Southampton County residents to donate food, kitchen utensils, toiletry items and activities for the parents to do.
“We had hundreds of items donated,” Gibbs said. “We had a lot of cash donations, as well. Almost $300 in cash.”
“The article in The Tidewater News was shared widespread, so we had lots of support from the community, church, friends and family, all wanting to help out.”
With her fiance at her side, Gibbs presented the items to the Ronald McDonald House of Norfolk on Sunday, and had hoped to go above and beyond and make dinner for some parents in need.
“With it being the holidays, too many people had already volunteered to do so. That’s a good thing, though,” she said. “We want to go back in February and cook some parents dinner, since less people volunteer during the dead of winter.”
Already already making plans for a food drive, as well another household goods drive next Christmas, Gibbs wants to remind Western Tidewater residents that the Ronald McDonald House is always in need of items.
“It’s always nice to give back and help those who could use it.”
For a full list of requested items, visit the Ronald McDonald House of Norfolk’s website at http://www.rmhcnorfolk.com/support-us/our-wish-list/.