28 September 2021

Canberra businesses share some love (and chocolate) with families at Ronald McDonald House

| James Coleman
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Koko Black Canberra Store Manager Courtney Thiele

Koko Black Canberra Store Manager Courtney Thiele delivering the hampers. Photo: RMHC.

“It was completely out of the blue.”

Fundraising and Marketing Manager for Ronald McDonald House Charities (RHMC) Robyn Zwar says they received a phone call from a local chocolatier, asking if they could donate some goodies.

“Their business was largely closed due to the lockdown and they didn’t want their chocolates to go to waste when they could give them to someone and hopefully make a difference,” Robyn says.

That wasn’t all. A few days later, RHMC received another phone call.

“The owner of another Canberra business, My Sweet Lady, said she had been reflecting on the success of their business during this lockdown and wanted to turn that gratitude into action and pass it on to those who are less fortunate.”

The donations arrived at the perfect time. The cupboard at RMHC was looking a little bare earlier this month due to the effects of COVID-19 restrictions.

The sweets were packaged up into hampers and presented to the families currently staying in the Ronald McDonald House in the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children.

“They were over the moon,” Robyn says. “The families are always incredibly grateful. It’s also very humbling to think that they are going through such hard times in their lives and yet they still show such appreciation.”

Donated chocolates

The wide assortment of donated chocolates from Koko Black. Photo: RMHC.

The Ronald McDonald House in Canberra is run by staff and volunteers and provides accommodation to the family members of babies and children undergoing treatment at the hospital, so that they’re never far away.

“The Lion’s Club come in on regular basis and cook breakfast but we couldn’t do that this year,” Robyn says. “I was moved when the two businesses approached us with chocolates and cupcakes.”

Koko Black in the Canberra Centre provided the chocolates and is currently only catering to online orders. Store Manager Courtney Thiele is studying to become a midwife, and says she has seen first-hand the positive impact RHMC has on families doing it tough.

“We chose to donate to RMHC as they are truly a beautiful charity who help out local families. I have seen the impact they have and wanted to brighten up the families’ and staff members’ days as best we could.”

My Sweet Lady

Boxes of cupcakes donated by My Sweet Lady. Photo: RMHC.

My Sweet Lady is a small business based in the suburb of Wright and run by two sisters, Melissa Elix and Ashleigh Donley.

Ashley says the only restriction they have faced is not being able to get their biscuits and cupcakes across the border into NSW, but that fans have responded well to the pick-up and delivery options.

“A good friend of ours visits the RMHC weekly and we like to donate something to a good cause or organisation at least once a month,” she says. “Although we have not had direct contact with them, we can absolutely appreciate all that happens within RMHC and what they do for children and their families.”

Robyn says it’s really hard to see some people missing out due to limitations on the number of rooms the RMHC can use at the moment.

“But the families that are in there are incredibly grateful and understand the situation.”

Robyn also says that even those who couldn’t be there on the day didn’t miss out on the hampers.

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