Elizabeth Heffner

Elizabeth is the Content Writer at Printsocial. She’s responsible for crafting and copy editing creative content. In her free time, Elizabeth enjoys traveling, indulging her inner foodie and trying new restaurants, and exploring Charlotte’s cultural arts scene.

Print With Purpose: Autism Speaks

Autism Speaks Interview

Since Printsocial’s inception, Autism Speaks has worked with us as part of our Print with Purpose™ program. This means that you have the opportunity to donate 5% of your order to this amazing organization. Here at Printsocial, we believe it’s important to share these stories so others can learn more about their causes and the […]

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Since Printsocial’s inception, Autism Speaks has worked with us as part of our Print with Purpose™ program. This means that you have the opportunity to donate 5% of your order to this amazing organization. Here at Printsocial, we believe it’s important to share these stories so others can learn more about their causes and the impact they have on our community.

WHAT IS AUTISM?

According to the Autism Speaks website, autism or autism spectrum disorder, “refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication.”

Their website explains that there are many subtypes of autism; because of this, each autistic person possesses unique strengths and challenges.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 68 children falls on the autism spectrum.

“No child is going to look the same and no adult is going to look the same, so what therapy and what treatment option that helps them may not help someone else,” Autism Speaks Executive Director of the Carolinas, Kelli Embler, said.

WHAT IS AUTISM SPEAKS?

Autism Speaks believes in “enhancing lives today and accelerating a spectrum of solutions for tomorrow.”

The organization was founded in 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright, grandparents of a child with autism. Since merging with Cure Autism Now, the National Alliance for Autism Research, and the Autism Genetic Resource Exchange, Autism Speaks has built upon their legacy and made extraordinary achievements by “increasing global awareness of autism; advocating access to care and support; and funding research that has resulted in a better understanding of the breadth of the autism spectrum.”

Autism Speaks uses a blue puzzle piece as part of its logo.

“As far as the puzzle piece significance, there’s no one absolute cure or one absolute identifying marker, so it’s solving the pieces of the puzzle,” Lauren Kidder, Autism Speaks Carolinas Senior Coordinator-Field Development, said.

Kidder further explained that the puzzle piece is blue because boys are 4x more likely to get diagnosed with autism. And from a branding standpoint, blue is one of the most widely recognized colors on television.

100 Day Autism Speaks Kit

POWERED BY LOVE

Both Embler and Kidder are passionate about their work in the autistic community.

Embler holds an extensive background working with children with autism.

“I taught dance for kids with special needs,” Embler said. “I wanted to have my own dance studio; I was going to be in business and dance. And then I just kind of fell in love with the [autism] population and was drawn to special education. I’ve worked in special education for 20 years now.”


Kidder also has dedicated her time to her philanthropic beliefs. Her experience involves working with various non-profits since her high school years.

“I decided to change careers to focus on the nonprofit world. Being on the spectrum is a lifelong disorder. It’s important to remember that it’s a life spectrum,” she said.

Charlotte and South East Team Members

SHOW YOUR SUPPORT

For the past six years, the local Autism Speaks has held their walk at the ZMAX Dragway.

According to Kidder, it’s the largest autism fundraising event in North and South Carolina, hosting typically 8,000 attendees, covering the great Charlotte area. This year, the walk, sponsored by Alpha XI Delta, will take place on Oct. 28, 2017.

“Something that makes the event extra special is that we’ve moved over the last year or so to making it a truly autism friendly event,” Kidder said. “So, we keep the noise level down as much as you can with 8,000 people—lots of silent cheering— and really allowing the kids and adults on the spectrum to feel comfortable in their environment.”

According to Kidder, the event is grassroots fundraising at its best.

“We’re really dependent on them to get the word out and build awareness,” she said. “They fundraise, they get their colleagues involved, their friends and family, their neighbors, schools; it’s a pretty remarkable thing to witness.”

For more information about how to volunteer with Autism Speaks, visit http://act.autismspeaks.org/charlotte.

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InkTank: Yard Signs

Creative Uses for Yard Signs

Yard signs may be a throwback to those dreaded days when your parents made you wake up at the crack of dawn to start rolling out the goods for the Saturday morning yard sale. While yard signs are ideal for neighborhood second-hand shopping, they pack so much more potential. Not Your Mama’s Yard Signs Direct Party Guests  Whether […]

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Yard signs may be a throwback to those dreaded days when your parents made you wake up at the crack of dawn to start rolling out the goods for the Saturday morning yard sale. While yard signs are ideal for neighborhood second-hand shopping, they pack so much more potential.

Not Your Mama’s Yard Signs

  • Direct Party Guests 

    Whether you’re hosting a summer pool bash, Gatsby themed dinner party, or awesome baby shower, yard signs are the perfect festive touch. Direct guests to your awesome shindig with a creative sign. Incorporating an insta-worthy photo will get your guest talking before they even arrive.

Direct Your Guests with Yard Signs

  • Food Trucks and Pop-Up Shops

    When it comes to promoting small businesses, yard signs are advertising gems. They’re great for hanging in storefronts or planting outside your business with our h-stake stands to draw those passing by. What if your business is constantly on the move? Do you tweet your location? If so, yard signs are perfect for placing in high-traffic areas to let potential clients know when and when to find you.

Promote with Yard Signs

College Graduate Yard Sign

  • Nonprofits & Charities 

    Coordinating a 5k race? Hosting a charity auction or volunteering at a golf tournament? Our yard signs are the perfect directional tool to keep your racing participants on track, guide your auction attendees to their parking spot, or showcase your sponsors. We know you love to give back to your community, and Printsocial does too! We give a 5% of every sale to the non-profit, church, or fundraising organization of your choice.

Thank You Sign

Yard Sign Perks

  • Durable  Our yard signs are made of coroplast, a strong corrugated plastic sheet that’s stain resistant, waterproof and boasts a high tolerance for hot and cold temperatures, making it ideal for year-round use. ☔️❄️☀️
  • Affordable  Yard signs are extremely cost-effective to share your message to a wide audience. Our 18’’ x 12’’ 4mm White Coroplast sign currently starts at $9 each, and our 10mm 12’’ x 18’’ Coroplast sign currently starts at $12 each.
  • Easy Set-Up  Due to the size and materials used, our yard signs are lightweight, making them easy to transport and store when not in use.

Are you currently using yard signs to promote in a way that is not mentioned above? Tweet @Printsocial to tell us about it!

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Give Your Brand a Powerful Punch with Custom Promo Flags

Custom Promo Flags

Promotional flags give your brand a powerful punch 👊 by displaying well above head height. Promo flags should be seen as a piece of moveable media, tactfully transitioning from location to location to drive brand awareness. The possibilities for our flags are endless! With a promo flag, you have more options on where to advertise […]

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Promotional flags give your brand a powerful punch 👊 by displaying well above head height. Promo flags should be seen as a piece of moveable media, tactfully transitioning from location to location to drive brand awareness. The possibilities for our flags are endless! With a promo flag, you have more options on where to advertise your brand in order to get the most passing foot traffic.

These flags are perfect for promoting and showcasing your brand at food truck rallies, pop-up shops, grand openings, festivals, promotional events, concerts and more! Our custom teardrop and feather flags are printed one-sided on a durable and sturdy 3oz polyester fabric, making them perfect for indoor or outdoor use.

Teardrop and Feather Promo Flags

At Printsocial, we have several options for different bases and extra hardware, such as ground stakes and poles for outdoor use and a cross base and pole for indoor use. If you choose to order additional hardware, we’ll give you a convenient carrying case for those items. 👍

When purchasing your promotional flag, you need to consider how often it is going to be utilized. Are you using it for a limited time during a trade show or special event? Or will it be fluttering outside your store all week? We offer high-quality materials to make sure your flag stands out.

Flags can be machine washed in cold water with a mild detergent, using the gentle cycle. No bleach should be used. In order to prevent fabric shrinking, tumble dry on low. Steam to release wrinkles if necessary.

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4th of July Party Game Strong

July 4th Party Banners

Now that summer has arrived, planning for family or business shindigs is underway. However, the annual headliner everyone looks forward to and is preparing for is their July 4th celebration. Whether you’re planning a company barbecue or a neighborhood pool party, there are certain staple party items on every checklist—food options, selecting a venue, and […]

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Now that summer has arrived, planning for family or business shindigs is underway. However, the annual headliner everyone looks forward to and is preparing for is their July 4th celebration.

Whether you’re planning a company barbecue or a neighborhood pool party, there are certain staple party items on every checklist—food options, selecting a venue, and choosing fun group activities. One of the most crucial factors for the success of any Independence Day party, however, is the festive decorations. Here at Printsocial, we’ve got you covered! 

Print Essentials for Planning 4th of July Party

4th of July Party Decorations

Fun Flag Stickers

Cost-effective stickers are a creative way to share your brand. This marketing tool is traditionally distributed to be worn on your party guest’s apparel and belongings, but you can also utilize the stickers as seals for wrapped food items and labels for cups. While stickers are great for people of all ages, children are the perfect target audience for this colorful product. Our short run stickers are offered in a variety of sizes and quantities. 

Patriotic Banners

Announce your celebration in style with our diverse range of high quality indoor and outdoor vinyl banners. We offer 10mil Premium Matte Indoor Vinyl, 15oz Blockout Indoor Vinyl, 13oz Indoor/Outdoor Scrim Vinyl, and 8oz Mesh Outdoor Vinyl. Our banners are printed single-sided and have options to include grommets and/or hems, making them easy for displaying on the wall or draped in front of one of your tables. 

Hang Tags for Party Favors

Hang tags are a versatile product perfect for a party! At Printsocial, we offer a diverse selection of sizes and print options for our hang tags. Our finishes range from the rustic 18PT Kraft paper to a Glossy UV Coated paper. Use hang tags to create labels for wine glasses and beer bottles. Leave space for your party-goers to sign their name in patriotic colors, and you’re set! Hang tags are also a great way to add a festive touch to a party favor. Use them as a tie for a bundle of sparklers or bubbles.

Directional Yard Signs

Don’t let your guests get lost on the way to your event. Yard signs are ideal for directional purposes, particularly if it’s a large public venue or set back from the road. 

Party Invites

Printing custom invitations are the perfect way to keep your family, friends, and coworkers in the loop about your 4th of July celebration. We offer premium paper stock, sizes, and finishes, ranging from Glossy UV Coated to Pearl Metallic. Our invitations are perfect for showcasing important event details.

5 Print Items to Help Make Your 4th of July Party a Success

Whether you’re hosting a corporate affair or a social event, a successful party relies on creativity. Here at Printsocial, we offer the decorating solutions you need to bring your 4th of July festivities to life. 

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We are Excited to Announce our Free Shipping Policy

Printsocial Free Shipping Policy

We’ve done it! Printsocial is the first online printer to offer free shipping on every order, every day. No tricks or gimmicks! What does that mean for you? No matter how many sets or how high the quantity, ground shipping is always free! Unlike other online printers, we’re not going to have you search online […]

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We’ve done it! Printsocial is the first online printer to offer free shipping on every order, every day. No tricks or gimmicks!

What does that mean for you? No matter how many sets or how high the quantity, ground shipping is always free! Unlike other online printers, we’re not going to have you search online for a special code, offer a code for a limited time, or meet specific requirements for free shipping. Customers will always have a free shipping option on every order, every day. Free shipping is available in the contiguous 48 states (not available in Alaska, Hawaii, and Canada.)

“We’re pretty excited for the launch of Free Shipping here at Print Social,” Vice President and Business Development Rachelle Pacholski said. “Offering Free Shipping will simplify the ordering process for our customers by providing them with true, out-the-door pricing. Any product, any quantity, no matter how many sets are included, will ship for free. It’s just that simple.”

Make your print purchases count! At Printsocial, our mission is to provide our customers with high quality, affordable, and environmentally responsible printing. Those who purchase our products help contribute to our Print with Purpose program, where 5% of every order placed is given back to the non-profit organization of their choice.

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Print With Purpose™: Beds for Kids

Print with Purpose: Beds for Kids

Beds for Kids is working together with Printsocial as part of our Print with Purpose™ program. This means you now have the opportunity to donate 5% of your order to this truly incredible organization at checkout. Here at Printsocial, we believe it’s important to share these stories so others can learn more about their causes […]

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Beds for Kids is working together with Printsocial as part of our Print with Purpose™ program. This means you now have the opportunity to donate 5% of your order to this truly incredible organization at checkout. Here at Printsocial, we believe it’s important to share these stories so others can learn more about their causes and the impact they have on our community.

In his early 30s, Beds for Kids’ Executive Director Daniel Fogarty decided to leave the private equity investment world.


“I need to do something with my life that mattered,” he said. “So, I decided I was going to go volunteer around Charlotte for a year. Over the course of that [year], I met the two other co-founders, Tim Rowley and Brandon Holmes.”

In 2011, the trio was trying to figure out the biggest need in Charlotte. At that time, co-founder Tim Rowley worked to donate a couch to a local family.

“He went into the [house] with the couch, and it was a single mom with three kids, and there was no furniture in the house,” Fogarty said. “So, he started trying to figure out how to get the kids off the floor—we started asking a lot of questions. And then we all met up; the rest is history.”

The nonprofit’s vision is “to see the families in the community we serve become self-sufficient.”

“In our first year, we assisted 256 kids,” Fogarty said. “We’re expected to hit the 2,000 mark this year. And as of last Friday, we’ve delivered 6,295 beds since 2011.”

According to Fogarty, Beds for Kids works with 27 referring agencies when finding families in need.

“Those social workers are our frontline eyes and ears, and they are the ones that as clients are coming in through their programs, they will make that referral,” he said. “One of the reasons we do that is because those families need to be in other services as well, and it allows us to play a really good support system to the social worker…we want to be a tool in their tool belt, rather than just another agency that helps families. So if we can help them with a family, then we’re killing two birds with one stone.”

Beds for Kids donates on average 45-50 pieces of furniture per family.

“So, it’s basic living room furniture—couch, coffee table, end table—basic kitchen furniture —- a kitchen table and chairs for everyone in the house—, a bed and bedding for everyone in the house—new sheets, pillow, pillow case, blanket, or comforter,” Fogarty said. “And then we try to [give] at least one dresser per room. If we have student desks, we’ll put a desk in the kid’s room with one chair.”

The nonprofit is also in need of lamps, as a lot of the public housing in Mecklenburg County does not provide overhead lighting besides in the bathroom.

“If a kid’s in their room and wants to read at night in bed, and they don’t have an overhead lamp, they’re either having to do it with a flashlight or a cell phone,” Fogarty said. “And most of our client families may have one phone for the household, unlike most families.”

Check out a full list of furniture items that Beds for Kids takes here: www.bedsforkids.org/items-we-take

Beds for Kids Needed Items

Beds for Kids has 10 full-time staff members, but their biggest support comes from their volunteers. According to Fogarty, 2,100 volunteers worked with the non-profit in 2016. Even businesses such as Ashley Home Store have teamed up with Beds for Kids.

Beds for Kids Staff Members

“They are volunteers, they offer monetary donations, there are scratch and dent donations, but the real bed and butter for Ashley are their sales associates,” he said.

Fogarty explains that when potential customers enter the furniture store seeking a couch, the sales associate will ask if the couch they are replacing is in good shape and whether they would be willing to donate it to Beds for Kids.

Fogarty stresses the belief that everyone can make a difference, whether it’s through volunteer time or donations.

“We need their volunteer time,” he said. “And if you have a storage unit, if you’re downsizing, if you’ve got stuff in your attic that you’re going, “Hey, it’s spring cleaning time,” and the stuff is in good shape, and you don’t know what to do with it, we can put it to good use.”

For more information about Beds for Kids, visit www.bedsforkids.org.

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Featured Stock: 18PT French Kraft

Rustic and Chic Kraft Hang Tags

Dare to be different with our unique 18PT French Kraft Paper Stock. This specialty paper’s light brown stock features 30% recycled material, natural fibers, and subtly visible flecks, giving it a natural and organic appearance and texture. Our 18PT French Kraft Paper Stock is the perfect touch to add to handmade goods, organic products,  invitations, […]

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Dare to be different with our unique 18PT French Kraft Paper Stock.

This specialty paper’s light brown stock features 30% recycled material, natural fibers, and subtly visible flecks, giving it a natural and organic appearance and texture.

18PT French Kraft Paper Stock

Our 18PT French Kraft Paper Stock is the perfect touch to add to handmade goods, organic products,  invitations, and outdoorsy items. 18PT French Kraft hang tags are perfect for highlighting handmade clothes, jewelry, food items, and accessories as well as labeling mason jars. 18PT French Kraft business cards are great for folk and bluegrass musicians, local artisans, and staff members at outdoor/adventure attractions. This stock is perfect for creating memorable save-the-dates and invitations. The stock can aid in adding a vintage and rustic chic feel for weddings. 

18PT French Kraft Save the Dates: Wedding, Graduations, Birthdays and more.

Its uncoated finish provides excellent print quality, and the colored stock adds a warmth and rustic appeal to the images. Optional white ink can be applied in specific areas or all over, giving you the flexibility to add contrast and to have colors pop. In order for ink colors to print opaque the white ink will need to be printed under them, otherwise, the brown paper will show through slightly. 

Because this paper is recycled and colored, there may be a slight color variation due to the materials utilized in the manufacturing process. In addition, the paper’s fleck will vary between sheet to sheet as well as press run to press run. If you have any questions about our 18PT French Kraft paper stock, one of our awesome customer service representatives will be happy to assist you.

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How to Use Pinterest for Printspiration

From sports to wedding ideas, Pinterest is the go-to for the latest trends and creative ideas. Dubbed “the world’s catalogue of ideas” on its website, Pinterest has been in business since 2010. Whether you’re designing your wedding invitation or choosing the stock for your baby shower cards, Pinterest offers a plethora of inspiration. Color Trends […]

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From sports to wedding ideas, Pinterest is the go-to for the latest trends and creative ideas. Dubbed “the world’s catalogue of ideas” on its website, Pinterest has been in business since 2010.

Whether you’re designing your wedding invitation or choosing the stock for your baby shower cards, Pinterest offers a plethora of inspiration.

Color Trends and Design

Announced earlier this year on Pantone’s website, the 2017 Color of the Year is Greenery (Pantone 15-0343). A “fresh and zesty yellow-green shade,” the color is viewed as nature’s neutral and a symbol of new beginnings.

Simple greenery weddings and illustrated green leaves are an anticipated wedding trend for this spring and summer. You can expect designs incorporating tropical foliage, rustic wreaths, romantic garland, and a mixture of succulents.

Floral is also expected to be highly welcomed in 2017, especially for outdoor, boho and vintage themed weddings.

Luxurious metallic touches are expected to make a comeback this year. Inline or stamped foil for borders and flourishes are the perfect way to incorporate this trend. Printsocial offers nine inline foil options and numerous metallic stamped foil options for your printing needs.

Themes and Color Palettes

With so many wedding color palettes and themes out there, it can become a challenge to select the perfect one to set the mood. With the help of Janie Kliever’s article, “100 Brilliant Color Combinations and How to Apply Them to Your Designs,” I found 5 color combinations for popular wedding themes.

Nature

Using warm, grayish undertones makes the cooler greens contrast nicely for a nature themed wedding. This invitation was inspired by #4 “Crisp& Dramatic” artwork on Kliever’s page.

Nature color examples for print.

Garden

The berry and yellow-green shades contrast nicely with the neutral shades of gray, making for a lovely spring color palette. This invitation was inspired by #15 “Birds & Berries” artwork on Kliever’s page.

Examples of garden colors for your next print project.

Tropical

Using warm and cool colors in both bright and subdued shades, this color palette is perfect for a tropical destination wedding. This invitation was inspired by #12 “Surf & Turf” artwork on Kliever’s page.

Tropical color examples fro your next print project.

Rustic

This palette of neutrals creates a shabby chic and rustic feel. This invitation was inspired by #80 “Shabby Chic Neutrals” artwork on Kliever’s page.

Example of rustic colors for your next print project.

Vintage

The neutral brown and warm gray combined with the rose and honeysuckle create a charming vintage theme. This invitation was inspired by #68 “Vintage Charm” artwork on Kliever’s page. 

Vintage Color Palette from Pinterest

Interested in learning more about our variety of invitations and announcements? Click here.

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Why College Grads Need Business Cards

College Grads Use Business Cards

Whether you’re a recent college grad or you’re wrapping up your final collegiate semester, it’s important to dive into the job hunt prepared. In this digital age, it may be hard to fathom that business cards are still relevant. Well, I’ve got news for you; print isn’t dead. By combining tech savvy knowledge and modern […]

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Whether you’re a recent college grad or you’re wrapping up your final collegiate semester, it’s important to dive into the job hunt prepared. In this digital age, it may be hard to fathom that business cards are still relevant. Well, I’ve got news for you; print isn’t dead.

By combining tech savvy knowledge and modern business cards, you’re sure to stand out among your fellow competitors.

Using business cards during networking and social events give you a huge advantage. Here’s how:

Benefits of Business Cards

While it’s nearly impossible to find someone without a smartphone, that doesn’t mean it’s easier or faster to share your contact information. Instead of typing his or her information in on the spot, you can simply hand someone a business card. This gives the person the opportunity to plug in your information at his or her convenience.

Business cards are more personable. Engaging in eye contact and cultivating a conversation is key for starting a strong business relationship. It’s better to create that personal interaction by handing out a physical business card.

Business cards give you the opportunity to showcase your creativity.  It can be hard to show diversity by simply texting your contact information or only sending an invite via LinkedIn. Make sure your business card stands out; don’t be afraid to use unique color combinations, styles or finishes. If you’re looking to give your business cards a playful edge, our Painted Edge Business Card gives off a pop of pearlescent color. If you’re wanting to add a special feature, explore our Matte with Spot UV Business Card, which offers a spot gloss feature against a dull matte stock. Creative business cards stand out; your business card is a physical representation of your self-branding. When a prospective employer or colleague takes away your card from an encounter, your brand stays with them.

Photographer Painted Edge Business Cards

4) You can use your business cards to promote your online presence. When creating your business card, your name and contact information is a must. However, your contact information doesn’t have to stop at your email and phone number. Does your Instagram showcase your creative side? Perfect, you can add your handle. However, make sure your content is appropriate for professional use. Any professional websites or online portfolios are also extremely beneficial.

SEE ALSO: InkTank: Creative Uses for Business Cards

Remember, your business card is one of your key marketing tools. When you meet a professional at a networking or social event, you’ll be able to exchange business cards with confidence.

Choosing the right printing company to create your business cards can be a little overwhelming. If you’re looking for affordable, unique, and socially responsible business cards, check us out! We offer a wide variety of different styles and finishes.

Here at Printsocial, we’re dedicated to making a difference; because of this, we donate a minimum of 5% of our gross revenue to charity organizations and fundraising efforts of your choice. Feel good about your purchase; Print with Purpose.
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Print with Purpose: Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte

RMH Charlotte

Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte has teamed up with Printsocial to be part of our Print with Purpose program. This means you now have the opportunity to choose to have 5% of your order donated to their truly incredible organization. Here at Printsocial, we believe it’s important to share their story so others can learn […]

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Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte has teamed up with Printsocial to be part of our Print with Purpose program. This means you now have the opportunity to choose to have 5% of your order donated to their truly incredible organization. Here at Printsocial, we believe it’s important to share their story so others can learn more about their cause and the impact they have on not only our community, but communities worldwide.

Carrying for a seriously ill child can become a financial burden for families.With the medical bills and travel accommodations, it can become overwhelming. The Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte (RMH Charlotte) works to alleviate some of these hardships.

According to Emily Ransone, Annual Support Manager, RMH Charlotte opened its doors in 2011.

Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte

“With Ronald McDonald Houses in general, worldwide, they’re always affiliated with some type of hospital system…so, as hospitals start developing and becoming more advanced, they start having patients coming in from other places—that’s when you’ll see Ronald McDonald Houses popping up because then there become a need for the houses,” she said.

The opening of Carolinas Medical Center’s new 240-bed Levine Children’s Hospital in 2007 and the expansion of Novant Health Hemby Children’s Hospital created the need for a facility located nearby.

“Our hospitals are becoming more of a destination for care,” Ransone said.

The Charlotte house is able to accommodate 28 families, with one room per family unit. There is no minimum or maximum for how long a family can stay.

“We serve 550-600 families per year,” Ransone said. “Last year, our average stay was 14 nights, but we’ve had families for several months at a time. I think that the longest time was almost a year. It really depends on the type of treatment the child is receiving.”

RMH Charlotte hosts families with children suffering from a variety of illnesses.

“The highest diagnosis we have is children in the NICU,” Ransone said. “So we have a lot of premature baby’s families staying with us. But they could be in the NICU for a lot of different reasons, different diagnoses. For example, the child might be in the NICU but also have cancer. We’ve had a lot of cancer patients, children with sickle cell anemia, etc.”

According to Ransone, there are three requirements a family must meet in order to stay at RMH Charlotte: the child must be between 0-22 years old, the child must be actively receiving treatment, and the family must live outside of Mecklenburg County.

“There’s not an income cap or maximum,” she said. “It all depends on these three factors.”

RMH Charlotte strives to be a home-away-from-home for these families. Upon checking in, each family is given a private bedroom and bathroom. Amenities include a large living room, dining room, full-service kitchen, playroom, playground, teen room, and a laundry room. Every evening, families are provided with a hot meal by volunteers. In addition, families get a home-cooked breakfast every Saturday and Sunday.

“We have a pantry full of food, so for breakfast and lunch during the week, they don’t have to go out to the grocery store, even though the volunteers aren’t making those meals for them,” Ransone said.

Toiletries and laundry essentials are also supplied to the families during their stay.

“It’s all done by volunteers and donations we receive from the community that we’re able to offer all of that free of charge,” she said.

While families are asked to make a donation during their stay, the Charlotte RMH website states that “no one will ever be turned away due to an inability to pay.”

“A lot of our families can’t donate, or they’re not able to donate a lot because they’re going through a lot of financial hardship with the medical expenses,” Ransone said. “It costs us $142 a night per family to keep the house running. So any donation that is made to the house goes to our Fund-A-Family program and covers the cost that it costs us so that we never have to turn a family away.”

According to Ransone, there are many ways the community can support RMH Charlotte.

“We get all of the supplies we need through what we call in-kind donations, picking out items on our wishlist,” she said. “Anything you need in your house you would multiply that by 28 since we have 28 families. 

Volunteer Power is also essential for the day-to-day operations. With only 14 full-time staff members keeping the house open 24-7, the Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte relies heavily on its volunteers.

“We rely on volunteers to clean, sit at the front desk, give tours, make the meals, do activity nights for the families,” Ransone said. “We call our volunteers the ‘heartbeat of the house’ because we really rely on them to help things run smoothly.”

Overall, Ransone feels there is a strong connection between the charity and the Charlotte community.

“Since I’ve been working here, I’ve been really amazed by the community, and how this community especially, supports the Ronald McDonald House,” Ransone said. “We see folks from every walk of life coming in to donate or volunteer—churches, civic groups, schools, sports teams, big corporations, small businesses, retired teachers—all different types of people…I’ve been very impressed by the diversity of folks that have been involved and get behind this mission because I think almost anyone can relate to having a sick child or sick family member and knowing what that feels like. The heart that’s poured into this place is pretty cool.”

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