By Jon Rumley, Walmart Canada Corporate Affairs
When Thomas Wade Shaw’s daughter was born prematurely, Ronald McDonald House Charities® Atlantic was there.
Molly only weighed a pound when she was born at 22 weeks gestation on Dec. 9, 2016. As a micro preemie, she needed care at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax, several hours away from Wade’s home.
“All I wanted was my wife and baby to be OK,” said Wade, a Walmart Canada store manager in Woodstock, N.B. “I’ll never, ever forget that feeling.”
Wade slept in his truck outside the hospital that night while his daughter was transferred from Charlottetown to Halifax. The next morning, he learned he could’ve stayed at the Ronald McDonald House in Halifax. The following night, Wade stayed at the house and made a new friend – another grieving father.
“The one thing that made me feel OK was our conversations at the Ronald McDonald House,” he said. “It brought me a bit of sanity within the grief. There’s always somebody in a more difficult circumstance. It gave me a newfound appreciation.”
Fortunately, Molly survived the ordeal and was reunited with her family. Today, she’s happy and healthy. The experience showed Wade the importance of having a strong community network.
“I’ve never seen a level of compassion like that before,” Wade said. “It’s a place to sleep, but it’s also so much more than that.”
The Ronald McDonald House in Halifax is more than a home – it’s a support system for Maritime families when they need it most, assisting more than 2,000 families with sick children each year. There are 15 Ronald McDonald Houses across Canada and efforts are underway to build a new house in Halifax.
Walmart Canada associates are proud to strengthen local communities by working together to support charities that help Canadians. That’s why Walmart Canada is giving back through its Community Giving initiatives, including Community Grants.
In 2021, 32 Walmart Canada stores in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island each donated $1,000 Community Grants to RMHC Atlantic – a combined donation of $32,000.
It’s such an important initiative for associates that Walmart stores did it again in 2022, donating a total of $64,000 to support Ronald McDonald House Charities, which will help alleviate the financial burden on families while providing support while they’re far from home.
“We are thrilled to be the recipient of Walmart Canada’s Community Grant for a second year in a row,” said Chris Steeves, Director of Philanthropy at RMHC Atlantic. “Walmart Canada’s Community Grant supports our mission by keeping families together and near the medical care their sick child needs. Community is at the core of what we do.”
In June, Walmart Canada donated more than $1.38 million to the IWK Foundation as part of the company's spring fundraising campaign in Atlantic Canada.
Walmart Canada has been partnering with Children’s Miracle Network for more than 27 years and has raised and donated more than $190 million to date in support of 12 children’s hospital foundations across Canada, making Walmart the largest corporate, private sector contributor to children’s hospital foundations in Canada.
“It just made sense for us. It means so much to the community,” said Jennifer Irving, a Walmart Canada Store Manager in Digby, N.S. “You don’t know how important it is to support these causes until you need them. Every single person in the Maritimes knows someone that the IWK has helped. They mean everything to us.”
After more than 18 years with Walmart, Wade says he’s seen the impact these donations are making to bring comfort and peace of mind to Canadians.
“We have a massive platform that we can and should use to help these organizations. I feel privileged to use the scope and scape of Walmart to give back to the community. There’s more to give and there’s more to grow. I’m extremely thankful.”