Families staying at Ronald McDonald House in Derry Township, Dauphin County don’t expect to be there on Christmas, nursing a sick child.
That’s why Hollywood Casino provides a Christmas dinner there each year to support the families in difficult times.
For Ecliset Ortiz, the biggest gift was seeing her 8-year-old son Jonathan discharged on Christmas. He has a chronic illness, and the family stayed over several days when he came down with a high fever.
“Christmas Eve we were going to have a dinner with my mom,” says Ortiz. “But it was good, because we spent it here and we all were together.”
“It feels kind of awkward, kind of weird because I’m not used to it,” says Jonathan’s sister Kiara. “But I like it here. They treat us so well.”
Ronald McDonald House accepts meals donated all year round. They ask for about 50 servings on average. For more information, visit their website.
“If we can add a little bit of comfort to it, it’s obviously not the best situation for anyone, and if we make it a little bit better it’s just worth the time for of doing it,” says Allan Rupert, executive chef at Hollywood Casino, who donated his Christmas to serve the families.