Ronald McDonald House, and others, left without volunteers due to COVID-19 pandemic

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Maxim Dias Da Costa has a rigorous schedule after he relapsed last November with a brain tumor.

"Because he has to be sedated everyday, he has appointments that are at 6:30 in the morning," explained Maxim's mom, Jennifer Dias Da Costa, a guest at the Ronald McDonald House.

Maxim and his mom stay at the Ronald McDonald House near Central DuPage Hospital. The charity has helped make a difficult time easier.

"I don't have to worry about grocery shopping, I don't have to worry about cleaning the house. I can just focus on him," she said.

Lisa Mitchell with the Ronald McDonald house of Chicagoland and northwest Indiana says volunteers do a lot of heavy lifting, which includes serving one or two meals every single day.

"Volunteers provided both the manpower and the financial support to make the meals," she said.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, charities have been forced to keep volunteers away as part of the broader community efforts to stop the spread of the virus.

No volunteer chefs mean that there is also a lot less money coming in to buy food.

The non-profit will need to find about $95,000 from somewhere else, forcing budget cuts.

"I know that people are being asked for a lot right now, but we hope everyone was continue to keep our families in mind during the stressful time," Mitchell said.

Mitchell hopes people will make donations like paying for catered meals or mailing in restaurant gift cards so these families can have as much support when they need it most.
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