Ronald McDonald House creates Santa Room that keeps on giving

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DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- The room may be set up like a department store, but there is one glaring omission: the checkout line.

"What you're looking at is nothing but love with a capital 'L'," Oie Osterkamp, Executive Director of the Ronald McDonald House of Wake & Durham, said. "Our mission is to provide that joy and that love and kindness every single day of the year."

Christmas, of course, is one day of the year unlike any others, but sadly, many families in the Triangle are more concerned with the uncertain future of their afflicted children.

That's why Osterkamp said the Ronald McDonald House transformed their Community Room into a "Santa Room" stocked with row after row of toys, gadgets, stuffed animals and other gifts where families can "shop" for the holidays. Volunteers were also standing by to wrap the gifts with their own sprinkle of holiday spirit.

"I'm happy to be supported by so many people who care," Christina Wallace, whose daughter is recovering from a bone marrow transplant, said. "We weren't expecting to be here for the holidays, but we're here."

Wallace said that her daughter's illness kept her from doing any shopping, let alone spending much time with her husband and three other children.

The Santa Room, she said, was a gift to parents who are desperate to give their children some attention.

"I can tell them I love them and see their smile."

The Ronald McDonald House of Wake and Durham, which first opened in 1980, offers a comforting "home-away-from-home" and a community of support for seriously ill children and their families. Osterkamp said the organization's $3 million budget is raised entirely through donations--nearly 40 percent of which is given by people in the month of December.
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