Newlyweds Hannah Blanke and Matt Shellabarger decided that at their Christmas themed wedding they didn’t want their guests to bring them wedding presents. Instead the Dayton couple would have a gift tree and would ask guests to bring toys that they would then donate to the Ronald McDonald House. “I absolutely adore Christmas,” says Blanke. “Because we decided to have our wedding so close to Christmas, we wanted to try to give back in the best way we possibly could.”
Both Blanke and Shellabarger had past experiences with family at Dayton Children’s Hospital, so they know how helpful Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) is for families dealing with a medical crisis. RMHC helps families of sick and injured kids by providing food and shelter at no cost to the families. Children going through treatment can choose a gift from the facility’s toy closet. RMHC Dayton communications director Reba Chenoweth says the toy donations can really make an impact. “It’s just something that we hope will give them a sense of normalcy and make them realize how special they are despite the circumstances they’re going through.
Blanke says she’s thankful that the donations might make a difference for a family going through a hard time. “If the little bit that I had been able to give was going to make a smile on your child’s face or on your face or just lessen the burden, my job is completely done.”