Hi everyone! My name is Angela Laird and I am Miss Contra Costa County 2015. As you may know, the national platform of the Miss America Organization is the Children’s Miracle Network. Contestants at every level of competition, whether it be at the local, state, or national level, raise money to support the Children’s Miracle Network and we also volunteer our time at local Children’s Hospitals. My local Children’s Hospital is the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland. UCSF Benioff Oakland is a national leader in many pediatric specialties including hematology/oncology, neonatology, cardiology, orthopedics, sports medicine, and neurosurgery. The hospital is one of only two solely designated California Level 1 pediatric trauma centers in the region, and has one of largest pediatric intensive care units in Northern California. UCSF Benioff Oakland has 190 licensed beds, over 500 physicians in 43 specialties, more than 2,600 employees, and a consolidated annual operating budget of more than $500 million. UCSF Benioff Oakland is also a leading teaching hospital with an outstanding pediatric residency program and a number of unique pediatric subspecialty fellowship programs.
I like to donate my time, as well as food and other necessities needed, to the Children’s Hospital Oakland Family House. This three-story home has 16 bedrooms, two kitchens, two common areas, two laundry rooms, a playroom, and an exercise room. In the back, there’s an adorable playground in the backyard modeled after the Oakland Fire Station, built by and dedicated to Oakland Firefighters. Families and patients who live more than 70 miles away from the hospital are eligible to stay at the Family House at a low cost. What I think sets the Family House apart from a Ronald McDonald House, which is very similar, is the fact that since UCSF Benioff Oakland is a research center, patients who have been involved in studies since they were children still stay at the Family House. Patients who stay there could be 30, 40, or 50 years old.
Each month I bring themed food to the Family House, like St. Patrick’s Day cookies and Valentine’s Day goodie bags, to bring fun to what could be a not so fun situation. The Family House receives donations for food almost everyday to feed the residents staying. They also accept donations to keep the cupboards and refrigerator stocked in between meals. The Family House is constantly accepting donations from everything from cleaning supplies, plastic Ziploc baggies, paper plates and bowls, Keurig coffee and tea pods, single serving snacks, and gift cards to Trader Jo’s, Safeway, Target, Costco, and Wal-Mart.
So remember, you can support your local Children’s Hospital in many different ways! Be creative and find ways to donate to your local Family House equivalent. If you are looking to donate to the Children’s Hospital Oakland Family House, give them a call at (510) 428-3100 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a complete donation list and more information!