Students Spread Holiday Cheer at Ronald McDonald House

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MAHONING TOWNSHIP -- With more than 13,000 guests staying at the Ronald McDonald House near Danville this year, it takes a village to make it run.

Luckily, volunteers fill the house throughout the year, especially during Christmastime.

A group of students unloaded boxes from a truck outside the Ronald McDonald house near Danville. This was one of the many donations the house received this Christmas season, and these volunteers were happy to help carry the goodies inside.

"I think it's definitely very exciting. I love and appreciate giving back to others," said Rachel Yerger.

The students are seniors at Sun Area Technical Institute in New Berlin.

Crystal Gutshall is the school's cosmetology teacher and has brought her class here for the last five years.

"A lot of the wrapping has already been done by other groups by the time we get here, so we're usually one of the last groups that comes in here as volunteers to pull it all together."

The 18 students wrapped the rest of the gifts and organized them by room.

"It's pretty cool to just give back and not always be receiving in the sense of the Christmas theme," said Katelynn Hendrix.

This is the Ronald McDonald House's 35th year in the Danville area, giving families of patients a place to stay.

"We're a very small day staff to run a 19-room facility, so we rely much on philanthropic support. We heavily rely on our volunteer program," said Ann Blugis, director of development and communications.

These volunteers tell Newswatch 16 they had fun playing Santa for the day.

"You get to look at some of the gifts and decide who gets what, whether it's clothing or games or books," said Gutshall.

The girls say the only thing that would make this event better would be to see the faces of the kids on Christmas morning when they open up the presents.

"Just to go and visit them and see how they're doing and wish them a Merry Christmas. But giving presents to them is definitely a way of saying Merry Christmas," added Yerger.

The staff says the Ronald McDonald House would not be able to run without volunteers like these students.

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