Orange County Ronald McDonald House Charity
Plantscapers donated a Living Wall to their charity of choice, the Orange County Ronald McDonald House.
The Orange County Ronald McDonald House has been bringing families together for 26 years. Katie Russell is Director of Operations and along with her staff, they have been running a household that gives families, whose sick children are receiving treatments, a warm and comforting place to stay. The home environment replaces the option of a cold hospital bench, impersonal hotel room or miles of traveling back and forth that many families go through when their child is in the hospital. Orange County Ronald McDonald House lessens the burdens for these families by keeping the entire family together to rest and refresh in a place filled with kindness and love.
Katie herself is kindness personified. Her warm gentle nature and beautiful heartfelt smile is an innate quality she carries with her throughout the busy 60+ hours that defines her work week. But this same quality is the key support the families need and absorb while they gather hope in their stay at the home. Katie is not a stranger with grief and her compassion shared is part of a platform of gratitude that has taught her strength and given her the ability to check in with herself to decompress and know the healing power found in tears.
Raised by her older brother, currently the Deputy Chief at the Anaheim Fire Department, Katie witnessed firsthand the sacrifices he made to raise her after both their parents died when she was young; and provided her with a strong role model she emulates today in her own work. Katie’s belief “you are as strong as your weakest staff member” sets her to constantly rally around her team and make them the best that they can be. “They are the heartbeat of this home,” she easily confesses, “and they are the ones that make me look good.”
After a partial remodel due to a faulty fire sprinkler that accidentally went off inside the home, Katie wanted something more that brought the soothing nature of the outdoors, indoors.
Interior designer Tamra Mundia of Concept Design (see Plantscaper’s January Client of the Month) who helped design the remodel suggested a living wall and recommended Plantscapers. We were delighted to give a wall to such a fantastic charity! And during the process we decided this was our charity of choice and will be participating in the many fundraising projects for Orange County Ronald McDonald House.
What really touched our hearts and made it plain as day the value of plants indoors, was the comment made by a mother getting through her child’s sickness one day at a time. Every morning she would quietly sit in front of the living wall and sip her cup of coffee. She remarked the wall soothed her, “it brings me peace.” And so it is for many other families that gather in this very special place to relax.
Katie has been with the Orange County Ronald McDonald House for over ten years and during her tenure has held a variety of positions such as: Guest Services Associate, Volunteer Coordinator, and Guest Services Manager. Her previous work experience includes serving as Director of Operations for an Interior Design Company and over nine years with the Disneyland Resort as a Guest Relations Manager.
Director of Operations
Orange County Ronald McDonald House
383 South Batavia Street
Orange, CA 92868