Any parent who has put together a dollhouse or play kitchen knows it can take skill and patience to make sure all the tiny doors and shelves are assembled just right. So when L.A. Parent and the National Parenting Product Awards (NAPPA) decided to team up to build dollhouses and play kitchens for the kids staying at Los Angeles Ronald McDonald House, we knew just who to call – the Los Angeles Fire Department.
A dozen firefighters arrived in their fire trucks one recent morning, ready to build two dollhouses and two play kitchens donated by KidKraft. Lakeshore Learning donated all play food.
The Los Angeles Ronald McDonald House, located in Hollywood, serves as a home away from home for families facing a child’s critical injury or illness. Hundreds of kids stay at the house each year because they have a critically ill sibling at a nearby hospital. The play nook the firefighters constructed will help these kids can experience a bit of respite from worry and just have fun.
“L.A. Parent is a great asset to our community, always making connections and highlighting rich family life in our city,” said Julee Brooks, executive director of the Los Angeles Ronald McDonald House. “Today, L.A. Parent showcased a wonderful relationship of the Los Angeles Ronald McDonald House with LAFD Station 35. Thanks to the kind donations from NAPPA and the construction skills of the firefighters, the kids of the House now have some wonderful new playhouses and kitchens. Within seconds of the departure of the firefighters, kids emerged to do their job – playing – which is a therapeutic endeavor for our children and families. We are so grateful for the support that allows us to make the House a place of courage and joy.”
Watching the team of firefighters diligently building these play structures was another reminder to all of us that L.A. firefighters don’t just extinguish burning buildings and tend to the sick and injured, but also work in conjunction with the local communities to strengthen ties and help build unity.
Firefighters in attendance included:
- Armando R. Hogan, assistant chief, LAFD, assistant bureau commander of Operations West Bureau
- Captain Erik Scott, LAFD public information officer
- Firefighter David Ortiz, public information officer
Firefighters From Battalion 5 Office:
- Battalion Chief Robert Caropino
- Firefighter Fliorin Sarbu
Firefighters From Fire Station 35:
- Captain Justin Moore
- Apparatus Operator Eric Knudsen
- Firefighter Corey Lenzen
- Firefighter Rasha Grigsby
- Captain Juan Ramirez
- Engineer John Cano
- Engineer Brain Wall
- Firefighter Derek Dahl
- Firefighter Steven Garcia
- Firefighter Dan Rodriguez
“The firefighters that helped build and deliver the toys were all happy to help,” says Captain Jeff Arnold, of the LAFD’s Operations West Bureau. “We are a part of the community and we wanted to help the families staying at the Ronald McDonald House know that when they are staying there they are part of our community as well.”