21 Mar A Letter from our Executive Director about COVID-19
I’d like to say thank you. In a time of a lot of uncertainty and fear—when we’ve had to change our operating environment to keep families with sick children safe—our communities have been supportive. It matters. We care for people; for all of us it is at the core of what we do. We are navigating what that looks like together on a day-to-day basis, and your outreach and caring has helped.
We keep families together, and the reality of the world these days has made it a bit of a challenge. Beginning tomorrow, we will be closing our Ronald McDonald Family Room at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls for 21 days. Additionally, we will be suspending all new referrals to the Idaho Ronald McDonald House in Boise for that same period. Families who are currently staying at the House will remain onsite during this time. We are taking this action in response to the potential risk to parents, children and staff.
We are still here to help. We are paying for meals in the cafeteria for parents with a child in the NICU or Pediatric Unit at EIRMC while our Family Room is closed. Feeding families has been a steady source of support since our Family Room opened a few short months ago. Most days we serve between 35-50 meals. We know that is a lifesaver for parents who can’t leave the bedside and are committed to continuing this while the Family Room is closed.
Our amazing staff is working in small teams, in the House or remotely, around the clock to ensure that we are still operating and the House is clean and safe and families are taken care of. We are all missing our volunteers! In addition to caring for and feeding the families currently in the Ronald McDonald House, we are taking food to parents with hospitalized children at Saint Alphonsus and are working on a system to increase the food boxes we deliver to parents with children at St Luke’s Children’s Hospital. Although there won’t be any new families at the House, we will be able to accommodate families through partner hotel stays. We’ll continue to work with our partner hospitals to find options for families who are not staying with us during this time.
Our leadership team is meeting often and reviewing all needs—we are exploring different ways to support parents who find themselves at the hospital with their child, and also the hospitals who care for these kids. Despite these changes, there are still lots of ways you can help our families. It will be a long haul, and we are here for it, committed to our families, our hospital partners, and our people.
Stay safe, stay healthy, stay kind, and we look forward to brighter days together.