Celebrating 30 Years of Keeping Families Together: The Van Program NEW

Did you know our House has a Family Van Program? The House purchased its first van back in 2000. We have two dedicated vans that are used to take families wherever they need to go! Many of the families who come to stay at the House have no means of transportation. This means no way to the grocery store, pharmacy, or clothing store for the basic necessities they need. The House Van Program can take families wherever they need to go: from shopping at Walmart or Target, to grocery shopping at the farmers market, to picking up a prescription at the pharmacy. And our volunteer van drivers make this all possible! Pre COVID-19, our families could go on fun trips too. Rides to the movies, Longwood Gardens, and the mall are a few examples of fun van runs the House has made.

The House also provides car seats for our families to use. For Giving Tuesday, we are looking for new car seats for our vans to better serve our families.

Our vans are frequently used for various House errands as well. Our House relies on volunteer van drivers for help with event preparation, taking pop-tabs to the recycling center, grocery pickup, and flower donation pick-up, to name a few.

We are so grateful for the 16 volunteer van drivers that run our Van Program. We got a chance to talk to one of our volunteers, Jim Bailey. Jim helps out in many areas of the House: the Van Program, events, and errands. Most recently, Jim has been helping with our outdoor holiday lights in preparation for our Share a Night event. Jim got involved in volunteering with the House by living nearby and having spent his entire professional career working in Wilmington. “I was well aware of the tremendous reputation and wonderful work being done at Nemours and Ronald McDonald House of Delaware” Jim shares. “After I retired, I thought it would be a great opportunity to explore Ronald McDonald House of Delaware”.

When asked about a meaningful experience Jim has had at the House, he recalls “Seeing a young child with very serious and possibly life-threatening medical issues who is still smiling and playing the role of a young child despite all the adversity. That youthful positivity is contagious. It is also a life lesson”.

The House Van Program is a pivotal program to our operations. It keeps our families mobile during their most difficult times- and our dedicated volunteers keep it running. “I’m struck by the extraordinary dedication and the longevity of the staff and volunteers at Ronald McDonald House” Jim says. “Some of our staff and volunteers have been working here for many, many years. I’m sure that some of them have had opportunities to go elsewhere, but they remain devoted to the very worthwhile purpose of Ronald McDonald House.”

When asked about what he has learned volunteering for the Ronald McDonald House of Delaware, Jim states “I’ve learned how blessed I am to have my health and to have children who are quite healthy contrasted with the extraordinary health issues facing these young people and their families. I am so fortunate to have the opportunity to help others who are less fortunate”

We thank all of our van drivers and volunteers for sharing their time and we appreciate Jim for sharing his perspective with us!