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Taking care of our families

What is the Happy Wheels program?

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Augusta is committed to serving as many families of seriously ill children as possible, yet the demand for rooms has grown to the extent that there are still many families who need us. Whether they’re staying with us or spending time at the Children’s Hospital of Georgia, we’ll be there.

Designed to serve families who wait for hours without leaving the hospital or their child’s bedside, the “Happy Wheels” hospitality cart provides a bit of comfort as it travels the hospital hallways, bringing parents and kids alike books, fun activities, and toys.

What is the need?

Research shows that staying close by allows parents to better communicate with their child’s medical team and improves adherence to complicated treatment plans. Children and their families who stay at the Ronald McDonald House of Augusta can sometimes stay weeks or months in our house. This can result in long days of treatment and long waits in the halls of a hospital.

The Happy Wheels Cart debuted at the Children’s Hospital of Georgia in the Summer of 2017 and has become a fixture there every Monday. The Happy Wheels Cart provides toys and games for parents and kids. The cart lets the family know that someone cares about how they are doing.

As Ronald McDonald House Board Member Dr. Charlie Linder said, “the visit itself can provide as much comfort as the snacks and toys offered. A hospital is a pretty lonesome place when you’re there by yourself.”

While the Ronald McDonald House in Augusta is a home away from home for critically ill children and their families, the Happy Wheels Cart provides activities to families in the Children’s Hospital of Georgia.

The Happy Wheels Cart will travel through the pediatric hallways of the Children’s Hospital of Georgia offering Augusta’s local families, in-patient children, and caregivers activities and comfort to allow the parents to remain merely steps away from their child’s bed. They will also be distributing activities to help pass the time and brighten days of the in-patient children and their families.

What areas are we covering with this program?

  • Patient and Family Care
  • Emotional Support
  • Access to Medical Care

How can I volunteer?

  • Be 18 or older
  • Receive an annual flu shot
  • Be able to push the cart to designated areas while also bending and reaching for low materials on the cart
  • Complete applications and background checks for both RMHC Augusta and Wellstar, formerly Augusta University Health
  • Complete orientation and training with Wellstar
  • Commit to at least one shift per month — You are welcome to work more often!
  • Plan on a minimum commitment of six months –You can work for a longer period of time, if desired.

How can you support this program?

Help support the Happy Wheels Cart Program by donating any of the items below –

  •          Baby Bottles
  •          Baby Wipes
  •          Newborn/Infant toys
  •          Teethers
  •          Sipping Cups
  •          Toiletries (shampoo, bath, lotion)
  •          Teen Items

To learn more about volunteering or donating to the Happy Wheels Program, contact Karleigh King at kking@rmhcaugusta.org.