Over The Top Mommy

The Orange County Ronald McDonald House

Spread Joy This Season and Join Hasbro’s 2016 #JoyMaker Challenge


This is not a sponsored post. I was invited to be part of Hasbro’s Joy Maker Challenge and provided with toys to donate for this campaign. All opinions are 100% my own.


It’s the most wonderful time of the year….the holiday season! I was so honored to be invited to join in on Hasbro’s 2016 “Joy Maker Challenge”! There’s nothing that warms my heart more than being able to give back to those in need to help spread JOY!spread-the-joy-boxHasbro and generationOn, the youth division of Point of Light, have partnered for the seventh annual Joy Maker Challenge. The campaign encourages youth,ages 5-18,  to spread joy to people in need during the holidays through volunteer service. For every kid and teen who volunteers throughout The Joy Maker Challenge, Hasbro will donate a toy or game to Toys for Tots (up to $1 million worth)! That’s amazing!joy-maker-challengeSince the campaign’s inaugural year in 2010, more than 960,000 total acts of service have been completed, with 6 million dollars’ worth of toys donated to Toys for Tots by Hasbro
Since the campaign’s inaugural year in 2010, more than 960,000 total acts of service have been completed, with 6 million dollars’ worth of toys donated to Toys for Tots by Hasbro
Inspiring service projects completed by kids and teens over the years include:

  • San Clemente resident, Max Page, turned his garage into ‘The Giving Garage,’ inviting local families to pick up Hasbro toys to give to those in need during the holidays
  • Members of the Alchemy generationOn Service Club in New York City made ‘caring cards’ to send to those affected by last year’s events in Paris, France
  • 33 youth came together in Corvallis, OR to do a variety of service projects, including raking leaves in the yards of senior citizens and people with disabilities

Won’t you join in too?
I’d like to encourage you to join the Joy Maker Challenge! From November 21 – December 23, teens, teachers, youth development professionals and families can sign up, search for local volunteer projects or share their stories for The Joy Maker Challenge through the campaign website (generationOn.org/joymaker)
The Joy Maker Challenge is part of Be Fearless, Be Kind Campaign, Hasbro’s new signature philanthropic initiative designed to inspire and empower kids to have the empathy, compassion and courage to stand up for others and be inclusive throughout their lives. Hasbro, which has a long and proud tradition of empowering children through its many philanthropic programs.barely-fit-in-my-carI was so excited when I received a giant box of toys from Hasbro on my doorstep! There were so many great toys inside the box and my daughter loved getting to open it and peek inside. I explained that the toys were going to be donated to families in need and she then helped me pick out the organization we’d be donating them to. We decided to take them The Orange County Ronald McDonald House.ronald-mcdonald-house-orange-county-signI’ve toured the facility before and was really touched to learn about all they do on a year-round basis for families who have a loved one (a child) in the hospital nearby. It is an amazing organization and I was honored to be chosen by Hasbro, to “give back” in their name.ronald-mcdonald-house-oc-donatingThe box was so giant that it barely fit in the back of my car. Ronald McDonald was there to greet me on the front doorstep when I dropped off the toys. I was happy to learn that my donation was just in time for their annual holiday party, which welcomes over 375 guests, who are either current residents at Ronald McDonald House Orange County or have stayed there within the past year.spread-the-joy-ronald-mcdonald-house-oc-1I think it’s so important to encourage kids and teens to become “changemakers” in their communities and the world, through service. It really teaches them about being selfless. How do you teach your kids about giving back to those in need? Don’t forget to visit the campaign website before December 23 and sign up to be a “Joy Maker” too for Hasbro’s 2016 Joy Maker Challenge! giveawayHasbro has so graciously offered to send one of my readers 2 boxes of 20 toys each, 1 box of toys to keep and 1 to donate. You can be a Joy Maker too! Enter on the Rafflecopter below! Good luck and Happy Holidays!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Join the conversation surrounding The Joy Maker Challenge on social media by following the hashtags #JoyMaker and #BFBK.

Orange County Ronald McDonald House Celebrates 25 Years of “Keeping Families Together”!

ronald-mcdonald-house-orange-county-signI was honored when I received an invitation to spend an afternoon at the Orange County Ronald McDonald House with a small group of bloggers. I have known several families who have stayed there over the years and had heard many wonderful things about it and how much it helped these families during their most critical times, when worrying about something like where to sleep was the least of their concerns. The Orange County Ronald McDonald house, a program of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern California, provides a home-away-from-home for families with critically-ill children.

orange-county-ronald-mcdonald-houseEach and every Ronald McDonald house is located within a close proximity of a world class children’s hospital. The Orange County location is located in the city of Orange, very close the CHOC. Nearly 80% of families at the house have children being treated at CHOC, while the remaining families have children at UCI Medical center and other nearby medical facilities.

our-blogger-group-visitOur  group got to spend some time listening to a remarkable young mother speak about her current experience staying at the house. She has a 4 month old infant son that was born in need of immediate 24 hour hospital care and while her little boy is being treated at CHOC, she is residing at The Orange County Ronald McDonald House. Her story was such an emotional one and really brought us all to tears right along with her, as she spoke. Hearing about all that the house has done for her made me happy for her, even though I know she is going through so much in this fight to be there for her son.

living room The tour of house gave us a little more insight about what goes on there and how it all works. It’s amazing to know a place like Ronald McDonald house exists for families. In a time where a family’s entire world has been turned upside-down, they have this huge resource to fall back on with very little asked in return. Having that security is something that can help keep a family together and able to support each other, rather than worrying about their own basic needs at a time when they just can’t.

Every family staying at the house has their own private room, which is a family-sized suite.  Throughout the house, there are several communal areas for families to interact with staff and others staying there.  There’s a kitchen, a dining room, family room, a playroom, a TV room, a sanctuary, and an outdoor patio area in the backyard. Each of these areas is very warm and inviting. Guests staying at the house also have access to computers and internet, as well as laundry facilities. There are 2 meals and snacks that are prepared daily in the kitchen for guests staying there. They also have access to the amazing kitchen to prepare their own food. Staff is available at the house, 24 hours a day, to help guests with anything they might need, which many times is emotional support.


playroomHere are just a few facts about the Orange County Ronald McDonald house:

  • The 20-room House is 12,500 sq. feet and opened in November 1989.
  • It just celebrated 25 years of helping families with critically ill children to stay together and be close by.
  • The House also operates 2 Ronald McDonald Family Rooms inside CHOC in Orange and CHOC in Mission Viejo. These rooms provide a place for for families to rest and relax inside the hospital, close to where their child is being treated.
  • The Orange County Ronald McDonald House also has the ability to provide families with rooms in hotels that are close by, when the house is at capacity. These families stay in the hotel at night but are included in the meals and activities at Ronald McDonald house. The funds for the hotel stays are made possible through donations.
  • There are plans to add on an addition to The Orange County Ronald McDonald House sometime within the next 5 years, using the lot adjacent to the property. This could provide housing for a lot more families, for which there is already a huge need.

snacks-in-the-kitchenThe day we were visiting the house, there was a large group of ladies who had signed up to volunteer in the kitchen that day. They were cooking up a big batch of baked goods to leave out for the guests in the house. I’ve always wanted to sign up to volunteer in the house’s kitchen with a big group of friends. It seems like a very rewarding experience, knowing you’re cooking a meal or a snack for the guests in the house.

volunteers-in-the-kitchenThe Orange County Ronald McDonald house has many volunteer opportunities available and also accepts donations to help with the costs of everything they’re doing to help families in need. Click here for more information about how to volunteer in the house or to donate. To learn more about the house and Ronald McDonald Charities, click here.


It was such a privilege to be able to spend an afternoon in The Ronald McDonald House Orange County. Everyone there was so nice and before we left they sent each of us home with a snuggly red blanket that has the logo on it that’s recognized internationally. It’s really comfy to use when I’m home on my couch and it will always remember of my time at the house.