Ronald McDonald House of the Four States thanked members of the news media during an event in their honor Tuesday.

“Media night is a time when we invite all of the media out to thank them for the coverage and support that they have given us over past year,” said Tara Horinek, director on the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Four States board. “Then to let them know how many families we have been serving, what events we have coming and what is new and exciting at Ronald McDonald House.”

The Ronald McDonald House of the Four States is located at 3402 S. Jackson, St., Joplin and has been open nearly 16 years.

“[The anniversary] is coming up on July 27,” she said. “And we have had one mission during those 16 years: to serve as a ‘home away from home’ for families of seriously ill children being treated at either of our two local hospitals [Freeman Health System and Mercy].”

The house has 10 bedrooms, one of which is used for the overnight manager.
“So we have nine rooms for families and we currently have six families with us,” she said. “It comes and goes.”

One of the new additions to the fundraising side of things at the house is the Big Red Shoe 15k & Relay – 15-mile Fun Run.

“We are excited to getting ready for our second annual Big Red Shoe 15k: this year it is on Sept. 6,” she said. “We have added a relay, a 15k relay. So if somebody can’t do a full 15k, they can get with two other people and they would each run a 5k. That is new and exciting this year is that addition to our fundraiser. A lot of people have already started registering. Still room for more runs.”

This is also an anniversary for the Ronald McDonald Houses as well.

“This year is the overall concepts of Ronald McDonald Houses that started in Philadelphia back in 1974, when the Philadelphia Eagles started Ronald McDonald Houses when a teammate had a sick child and they partnered with McDonald’s and that turns 40 years old this year,” Horinek said. “Today, there are 337 houses in 35 countries and regions.”

The house serves families who have children 0-18 staying in the nearby hospitals.

“Primarily, most of our families have families in the NICU, but we have had teenagers in car wrecks, expectant mothers on bed rest, children having specialized surgeries,” she said. “There is always a need for Ronald McDonald House and when a family has that sick child, we are here for them.”

As of June 30, the local house has served 2,483 unduplicated families from 36 different states and two foreign countries.

Families from 245 different communities in the Four State area have called the house a “home” for a total of 25,192 nights.

For more information, please call 624-CARE.