Monday, October 28, 2019

Family House Families are Real Superheroes

For Halloween, lots of kids like to dress up as their favorite superhero, but we’d like to acknowledge how the children at Family House are year-round superheroes. The patients here often endure terrible treatments in order to save their lives - and usually, they are the bravest people in the room! Even when they aren’t feeling well, the children at Family House are kids first: they want to play, they want to cuddle, and they want to be normal kids. Sometimes they even put on a brave face so their parents won’t worry. 

Their siblings, whether at Family House or back at home, are equally strong and deserve their own recognition. It’s hard to be concerned for the health and happiness of a brother or a sister who is going through treatments; it’s hard to have parents who are worried and stressed; it’s hard when the whole family can’t be together. Even for a child who is well, having a sick sibling can have negative physical and emotional consequences, and we want to acknowledge them for their strength, patience, and compassion.

And let’s not forget the parents, who go above and beyond for their children, often putting their own wellness aside. We love you, SuperMoms and SuperDads, and applaud you for all you do!

This Halloween, when you see superheroes out trick or treating - remember that we have some of the most amazing superheroes right here at Family House - every day.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

It’s Halloween!

It’s Halloween!
By Elan Slavin, MSW

It’s Halloween! It’s Halloween!
The moon is full and bright
And we shall see what can’t be seen
On any other night

Skeletons and ghosts and ghouls,
Grinning goblins fighting duels,
Werewolves rising from their tombs,
Witches on their magic brooms.

A chill is finally in the air.  Costumes are being made and sold and Halloween candy seems to be everywhere we look tempting us and our kids.  If you are a parent, you may be trying to think of ways for your child to celebrate Halloween in a safe, healthy way; especially if you are a parent of a child with an illness. Here are a few things to consider as you and your kiddos look forward to Halloween:

If your child is in the hospital during Halloween, ask the healthcare team if there is a celebration planned.  Oftentimes pediatric centers will host trick-or-treating or have costume parties for patients. It may also be fun to decorate your child’s room with Halloween decorations. If your child would like to wear a costume, you may want to make sure it’s comfortable and that the medical team has given the ok!

There are also some fun activities you can do at home if your child is unable to go trick-or-treating.

  • “Camp out” in your family room! Set up sleeping bags, have some yummy snacks and tell a ghost story or two
  • Turn on a scary movie (well, not too scary) and make a fort to snuggle up in!
  • Carve a pumpkin (or paint one) with silly faces
  • Bake a few Halloween themed treats!
  • Have a MONSTER MASH Halloween Dance Party! Turn up the music, put on your costume, and rock out to your favorite tunes! 

If your child is able to trick-or-treat and you don’t want them to eat every single piece of candy, you can:

  • Have your child choose their favorite 10 pieces of candy, then donate the rest! (Maybe to your local VA or to women and men overseas who would really appreciate it.)
  • Bake cookies using chopped up candy bars instead of chocolate chips and share them with your neighbor.
  • “Buy” each piece of candy from your kids for 10 cents each.  Let them use the money to buy a new book or small toy or decide as a family where to donate the funds. 

Most importantly, have fun, be safe, and celebrate the season!

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Holiday Volunteer Opportunities at Family House

Fall has only just begun, but holiday planning is already underway at Family House!
Every day of the week, volunteers and staff serve a healthy Family Breakfast to all of our residents, setting a positive tone for the day ahead. Most weeknights, volunteer groups cook or bring in a beautiful Family Dinner to be shared by all Family House guests. Both are satisfying ways to fulfill a practical need (food) while providing emotional support and love to families during a difficult time. Check out the Family House Family Meal Calendar for more details and to sign up for a shift.

We know that the dates through the end of the year are filling up fast, so consider alternate activities at Family House, like a midday meal or family activity, such as arts and crafts or board games. Contact us with your desired date & time and your idea for an activity!

If you don’t live near Mission Bay, but would still like to support Family House families during the holidays, consider doing a collection drive. We have an Amazon Wishlist with items that our families need. We also give out gift cards to families - gas cards, Safeway grocery cards, and gift cards to Target are extremely useful. See all of the wishlists at

To make a financial gift in support of Family House families, please visit It costs $150 per night to house a family here, and all stays are 100% cost-free to all families, thanks to the generosity of donors.

Thank you for helping to make Family House a home away from home, especially for those who will be in San Francisco and away from their extended families this holiday season.