Construction on Ronald McDonald House continues

Kirsten Buchanan

The new Ronald McDonald House is under construction. Photo by Asa Lory.
When 14-year-old Tosha Meadows had to stay at the University of Missouri—Columbia Children’s Hospital four hours from her hometown of Anderson, Mo., her parents did not have to worry about driving to Columbia each day or paying money to stay in a hotel.
Instead, they were able to live in the Ronald McDonald House during her month-long hospital stay.
According to their website, the Ronald McDonald House helps more than 400 families a year and has 14 bedrooms in the house. Because of severe water damage last summer, though, they currently only have nine bedrooms available.
This and other problems prompted talk of a second Ronald McDonald House in Columbia. Barbara King, Director of Development and Communications for the Ronald McDonald House, said construction for this new house began last September.
The  project aims to supply more space for the families of any hospitalized children, and the new location will also be more convenient for families because it is closer to the Children’s Hospital.
“The Ronald McDonald House provide[s] a warm, safe place for families of seriously ill or injured children to stay,”  King  said. “Individuals and organizations sign up to cook dinner for the families nightly, so they do not have to worry about cooking. When a family is dealing with a crisis, we try to help with the day to day issues so they can concentrate on their child or children.”
King hopes phase one of the two-phase project will be complete by the end of the year. The Ronald McDonald House is  also trying to raise money to finish phase two, and they hope to finish that in 2013.
Many students like senior Amanda Weber are familiar with the Ronald McDonald House, having volunteered there before. Weber’s first time there was over the summer.
“We went there to bake cookies and help them around the house,” Weber said. “I think [construction on the House] is a good thing because then more families can be helped and won’t be turned down because they don’t have room. Them expanding is the best thing they could do.”
King is also eager for the expansion to be finished because she has seen firsthand the benefits the Ronald McDonald House has for families.
“I have talked with a number of parents who all say the House is a Godsend,” King said. “It is a peaceful place to replenish the strength they need to fight for their children.”
By Kirsten Buchanan