ROCHESTER, Minn. - The holidays are a time when a lot of people donate old clothes or toys to people in need. But if you plan on donating to the Ronald Mcdonald House in Rochester, be aware of some new guidelines on what they can and cannot take in.
The house can no longer accept new or used plush items, like stuffed animals or beanie babies, used toys, or already opened craft supplies. This is mostly because these items are hard to clean.
"For a long time the house has accepted stuffed animals. But really we're just trying to do our best to focus on the health and well-being of the children. That's got to be our top priority and so that's kind of what we've been hearing from the families," Jacob Dreyer, Communications Director at the Ronald McDonald House of Rochester, said.
Dreyer said the decision soon after the organization finished its 28-room expansion this May. Dreyer said they used that time to reflect and see how they can better serve the kids in the house. This change will help the house and families keep their kids safe and healthy.
If someone comes in with items that are no longer accepted, the house will refer them to other area organizations so the donated items can still go to families in need.
"We are so grateful to the community, every time they think of us. So, even if they think of us for these items we can no longer accept, we really appreciate it," Dreyer said.
Here is also a list of the house's most needed items this fall and holiday season, along with a full list of what can and cannot be accepted.
No matter how big or small the gift, Dreyer said it makes a real impact to families staying at the Ronald McDonald House of Rochester.
"When they're here and they can get a box of new crayons for their child, or one of the toys that's on the wishlist, or even if they get cleaning supplies, disinfecting wipes. Parents really value that because it's gonna keep their kids safe, it's gonna keep their kids happy when they're here sometimes for unhappy reasons," he said.