Ronald McDonald House, Gift of Life Transplant Home create holidays away from home

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(ABC 6 News) – This Thanksgiving, many will be getting together with their loved ones, but there are some who might not be able to go home.

That includes patients at the Ronald McDonald House – Rochester. RMH is creating a traditional Thanksgiving meal for patients and part of that is thanks to the Canadian Honker catering meals.

Last year, patients received “Thanksgiving in a Box” including a meal and board game. Helping to take their mind off of whatever they might be dealing with.

“They were just overwhelmed by what they received. They were expecting a meal, they were not expecting an experience,” said Jame Bingner, development director at Ronald McDonald House – Rochester.

“They were not expecting flowers, they were not expecting games. The amount of families that teared up when they came to pick up their packages, it was incredibly heart warming to be able to be part of that for them.”

D6 Games provided the games and Bingner said one of the highlights for families was being able to receive games they were interested in.

Over at the Gift of Life Transplant House, guests will get to join their loved ones for a Thanksgiving dinner. Canadian Honker is providing the turkey. But families will have a chance to cook side dishes together in the community kitchen. Thanksgiving is typically known as the one day a year when people give extra thanks. At Gift of Life, that’s not the case.

“This is an interesting thing, being at Gift of Life Transplant House is almost like celebrating Thanksgiving every single day,” said Mary Wilder, executive director at the Gift of Life Transplant House.

“I have never in my life had an opportunity to work with people who are so grateful. And who remember every single day how blessed they are because they’ve had a chance of another day of living. And another opportunity to share it with friends, family, and loved ones.”

Wilder wants to remind people that while we can’t always be together, to enjoy the special moments when we do get to be together.

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