From the moment I walk into the Ronald McDonald House of Austin each day, I feel at home. Even with the usual hustle and bustle of volunteers preparing dinner in the kitchen or children playing in the living room, our House has a sense of community, calm, and comfort, making it a place of rest and recuperation—a true home-away-from-home for families.
Studies have proven that a healthy living environment is crucial in the holistic healing process for a child. Most often, families come to the Ronald McDonald House in the middle of a completely unexpected pediatric crisis. Their worlds are unraveling, and, by providing support and stability in a home-like environment, we enable families to concentrate on getting and keeping their child healthy and happy. So much of the community we have created at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Austin and Central Texas is due to the generous support of Southwest Airlines.
Southwest first got involved with the Ronald McDonald House program nearly 30 years ago. In 2004, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Austin and Central Texas received a gift of $125,000 from Southwest Airlines’ annual charity golf tournament, the LUV Classic, our most substantial single donation at that time. This gift enabled us to kick off our capital campaign for the new House we opened in 2007. Over the past nine years, Southwest has continued to support our organization through local Southwest Employees volunteering each month to cook dinner. We even have a guest room deemed the “LUV Room” in honor of our partnership with Southwest.
The families who come here are filled with worry and anxiety, arriving by chance and not fully understanding how we can help. But, there is a noticeable moment when I can tell the parents really comprehend the support and strength present within our House and decide, “We can do this.” This is why we exist; this is our mission. The Ronald McDonald Home has become a place that both we and our families LUV, and I am comforted to know that with the generous support of partners like Southwest Airlines, we will continue to be able to help children facing medical crises heal with their families by their sides.