SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – Ronald McDonald House Charities are hoping to give the gift of warmth to families this winter through their pajama and slipper drive.

Being away from home during the holidays can be tough, especially when you have a child in the hospital. That’s why the Ronald McDonald House wants to make sure the next few weeks are as comfortable as they can be for their families.

“It’s our hope year-round at the Ronald McDonald House to really offer a home away from home as much as possible, but especially at Christmastime and around the holidays,” Jessica Arend, development director for the Ronald McDonald House Charities said. “We want this place to be comfortable and warm and inviting for people and part of that, we have discovered in year’s past, is a pajama drive during the holiday season.”

Ronald McDonald House Charities accept donations of new pajamas and slippers of all sizes for both children and adults. During this time of year, they also host holiday meals and a toy drive. Santa Claus will visit the House, too.

“All the things that go on in your houses, we bring those things into our houses as well,” Arend said.

On average, families stay at the Ronald McDonald House for about two weeks depending on their child’s treatment. Arend says they help over one thousand families annually at the two houses.

“And even though donors just drop off the items and they may not see those families face-to-face, it’s really important for them to know how incredibly meaningful it is for these families,” Arend said. “They’re so grateful, no matter what the item is that’s donated.”

Donations for both the pajama drive and the toy drive can be dropped off at the Ronald McDonald House on Lake Avenue in Sioux Falls; they can also be mailed there. The pajama drive lasts all winter long.