BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — The Bakersfield Ronald McDonald house usually relies on this time of year to hold events raising funds for sick children in need. But the pandemic is making that more challenging.
The House allows families of sick children to access specialized medical treatment even if it’s hundreds or thousands of miles away. The organization provides a place for families to stay at little or sometimes no cost, relying on the community to help make that possible.
“We’re getting ready to start accepting families again, there’s a lot of paperwork to do it," said Scarlett Sabin, the director of the house.
The Bakersfield RMH helps about 500 kids per year. They stopped taking new families in late March, allowing those who were already there to stay. But soon they’ll start taking new families again. Sabin said they usually need about $400,000 per year to get their job done, a lot of that coming from fundraising events.
“And between March and the end of June we raise over two-thirds of our operating budget because we have so many different events," she said.
Now with all of those events canceled, the non-profit isn’t necessarily in dire straits, but it does need cash. So they’re thinking of new ways to raise it.
“So our biggest fundraiser that we do is the Walk for Kids and that’s going to be held virtually this year on May 30th, so we have a plan to make it fun and different," Sabin said.
The Walk for Kids usually happens at the California Living Museum, or CALM, with over a thousand people turning out to lend their support. Instead, this year a live stream will take place on Facebook, and participants are encouraged to walk and donate from home. The goal is to raise $165,000, and so far they’ve received $78,000.
The "Last Lap" for the virtual walks is Tuesday.
For information on how to sign up, or generally help out the Ronald McDonald House, you can visit their Facebook page.