Vista, CA — Understanding that community support for Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego is critical, 10-year-old volunteer and Vista resident Mason Harvey has organized five collection drives over the last three years for the charity and has future plans of organizing many more.
Mason’s volunteering began as a lesson and grew into a passion. At an early age, Mason’s parents wanted him to learn the importance of giving back to others, how small gestures can have the most profound impact on both those receiving and giving, and that, even as a kid, he has the power to make a difference. To instill this lesson, the Harvey family suggested Mason distribute gift cards to strangers to brighten their days.
Mason used his own money to purchase the cards, added them to small bags of candy and distributed the 10 gifts wherever the family went — at a restaurant, Disneyland, Target and beyond. Through these gifts Mason quickly understood the power of random acts of kindness and building community support and began planning his next act.
After becoming acquainted with Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego, a charity near to his mother’s heart, Mason began a mission to collect food and toiletries for families staying at the House while their child receives medical treatment at a nearby hospital. Using social media to spread the word about the collection drive, neighborhood friends were alerted of a collection box left on the family’s front porch for donations. Once filled, Mason brought the box to Ronald McDonald House Charities and has continued the process five times over the last three years. To thank those who donated to the drive, Mason set up a “Good Karma” stand with homemade baked goods, lemonade and a cotton candy machine to share sweet treats with his neighborhood.
As a regular volunteer, the Ronald McDonald House recently recognized Mason with a special achievement award and provided him with an official volunteer shirt and name badge. He has his sixth collection drive scheduled in the fall.
Donations to Ronald McDonald House, such as Mason’s, help strengthen families and bolster their psychological well-being during difficult times by keeping families together regardless of their situation or ability to pay.
San Diego’s Ronald McDonald House provides “a home away from home” to families who have a critically-ill or injured child in a nearby local hospital and keeps them close to one another during a medical crisis.
“Our staff, volunteers and guests at the Ronald McDonald House all work together to create an emotional and physical sanctuary from the challenges involved with caring for a hospitalized child,” said Chuck Day, president and CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego. “Whether it’s serving a meal, playing the piano, attending events or making a donation, there are many ways the community can support the families who rely on the House. Mason and his efforts demonstrate that giving back is possible regardless of one’s age or contribution.”
“I think everyone should volunteer for Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego because everyone there is super nice and kind,” said Mason Harvey. “I want all the families there to have tasty foods and to be healthy and happy while their kids are going through problems.”
To learn more about the charity or how you can help invest in strengthening families, visit: rmhcsd.org.