Andrew Whitacre is a McAwesome Award Winner for February at Ronald McDonald House (RMH) Columbus. RMH provides food and lodging for families with hospitalized children and relies on volunteers like Andrew to function. The Columbus location is the largest RMH in the world and started this award program recently. The announcement said: “We have some really fantastic nominations and we’re excited to share the first two McAwesome Award Winners with you!” and justified Andrew’s award as follows:
“Central Ohio United Non-Theists (COUNT) members have been helping at RMH for one shift on 1st Sundays of each month for several years. COUNT helps at the Van Buren Dr homeless shelter on 2nd Tuesdays and volunteeers at other places occasionally. Since Andrew joined COUNT he has been helping at almost all of our events. Andrew routinely signs up to restock two rooms at a time by himself because he can get more done more quickly by eliminating one trip back to the Hub. Some COUNT members prefer to work the morning shift; others the afternoon. For the last 4 months, Andrew has been working both back-to-back.”
RMH is supported by donations and volunteers from throughout Central, Ohio. Volunteers like Andrew are called Housewarmers and work with RMH guests to provide a home-like environment – greet, assist with family needs, answer phones, give tours, assist with checkin/checkout, prepare guest rooms after checkout, clean facility, laundry, restock supplies and staff the front desk. RMH Housewarmers volunteer at least one four-hour shift a month. All Housewarmers must complete an application and agree to a background check before they can be full fledged volunteers.
Volunteers can choose to perform tasks that they are comfortable doing and opt out of others. Some volunteers only work at the front desk or only restock rooms. Besides Housewarmers, there are Kitchen Coordinators and Craftspeople who make repairs. Dave Stamm does repairs and was another RMH volunteer chosen to win in this first round. RMH says “McAwesome Awards winners receive a certificate of recognition signed by our CEO Dee Anders, as well as a visit to the incentive cabinet (it’s full of great stuff!)”
Andrew is also a member of the Humanist Community of Central Ohio (HCCO) and Omnipresent Atheists (OA). He has worked over 85 hours at the Columbus RMH and is one of 17 COUNT volunteers who have contributed 843 hours there since May, 2013. The next COUNT event at RMH Columbus will be on March 5th.
COUNT, HCCO, and OA are members of the Columbus Coalition of Reason (http://columbuscor.org/).