A Friend to Families

We often tell folks who want to learn more about the Ronald McDonald House that we are really just like any home…just maybe a little bit large in size. We do laundry. We clean up the kitchen and wash dishes. Mopping floors, clean bathrooms, dusting nightstands, changing light bulbs…Those are all things that we do at our House too. And since we first opened 37 years ago, we have relied greatly on selfless volunteers to help keep our house running like a home.

But there are a variety of other roles where we depend on volunteers to help keep our ship on course. That list includes running the desk at the Ronald McDonald Family Room at Northwest Texas Healthcare System, helping out at our fundraisers and events, assisting with clerical and data processing tasks in our office…even tasting barbecue at the judges’ table for our Rib Challenge Cook-Off (and we don’t have to twist too many arms to recruit for that one, as we’re sure surprises no one). One volunteer who has worn an assortment of these different hats over the years is Shannon Schultz.

When she was in high school, Shannon worked for the 3rd busiest McDonald’s location in the great state of California. Working at McDonald’s, she came to realize their world-famous crispy, golden fries were the best item on the menu, and we won’t argue with that. McDonald’s has and continues to be the greatest partner of RMHC chapters worldwide ever since our first house opened in Philadelphia back in 1974. Shannon had a good friend and mentor at that McDonald’s job named Berta who sadly passed away while she was working there. In lieu of flowers, a donation to the Ronald McDonald House was conducted in Berta’s memory. Shannon not only made a donation in honor of Berta, but also vowed to volunteer at a Ronald McDonald House if she ever lived in a city that had one operating. Our House was built in 1983 and was one of the first 50 houses in the world, so when Shannon made her way to Amarillo she was able to get plugged in with us!

If we had a “hidden secret” program around here, it would probably have to be our “Gifts from the Heart” bi-weekly toy delivery program, where each year we distribute roughly 2,500 gifts and toys to the many heroic children staying in our area’s partner hospitals BSA and NWTHS. Shannon has helped us as our toy delivery volunteer in recent years, and her favorite memory of the House was an interaction she had with a child during that time.

“One holiday season when I was delivering toys, I went into a room to give a child a toy. He looked at me so sweetly and asked if I had a Happy Meal. I was taken back, if I could have gone and got him one I would have!!! He was happy to receive a toy but he really wanted that Happy Meal!!”

In addition to her time spent delivering toys to kids, Shannon has also served families at the Ronald McDonald Family Room and also attended and helped out at some of our community fundraising events, like the Rib Challenge BBQ Cook-Off!

During this time of social distancing and sheltering at home, Shannon has enjoyed spending her days cleaning, walking her dog in her neighborhood, cooking, watching Food Network and IDTV, and even baked some bread earlier this week. She most looks forward to meeting friends at someone’s home over breakfast, lunch, or dinner after the pandemic ends. If you don’t run into her around town, there IS an outside chance you would see her in Jamaica, as she has already traveled there 13 times at this point!

Shannon says she finds volunteering to be a rewarding experience because of the satisfaction it brings her inside to be able to help others. We are grateful to have her as an ardent ambassador in our wonderful community!