JOPLIN — It was a way to say "thank you" to area media outlets and also to talk about their upcoming 20th anniversary, Ronald McDonald House of the Four States held its annual Media Night on Tuesday, June 19.

JOPLIN — It was a way to say "thank you" to area media outlets and also to talk about their upcoming 20th anniversary, Ronald McDonald House of the Four States held its annual Media Night on Tuesday, June 19.

The house is located at 3402 S. Jackson St., Joplin.

"This 20th year marks speaks to our community, our region's ability to commitment to keep the Ronald McDonald House open and operating to serve families of seriously-ill children," said Annette Thurston, executive director of Ronald McDonald House of the Four States. "This (media appreciation) is a time to let the media know that because of them, the awareness that all of you (media) bring to our house, our programs and the commitment that you have to helping us do that, has made all of the difference. Once again, we have the exposure, we have the outreach, we are able to reach far and wide, to let people know that we are here, and that our charity is continuing to be privately funded and as we see donations come in, you can see a direct correlation to the importance of what you do as media in keeping us in the public awareness, to bring those donations in."

Officially, the house opened on July 27, - 20 years ago. Currently, they have 10 rooms, each wth its own private bath. there are two large family rooms, one with a self-contained children's play area, a kitchen and laundry facilities, a chapel, an outdoor playground and a patio and garden area. Families who stay at the house have access to transportation, meals, computers, WiFi.

"We have had more than 3,000 unduplicated families from 37 states and two foreign countries with us and most of importantly 31,000 lodging nights," she said. "Ronald McDonald House is the only world-wide service of its kind. There are now more than 300 house world-wide and our house locally continues to be the only house within that system that is operated with volunteers - 138 of them and only one full time paid manager."

Back in November, a new addition to Mercy Hospital was implemented.

"It (the Ronald McDonald Family Room at Mercy) actually resulted from the Joplin (May 2011) tornado," Thurston said. "So when Mercy Hospital relocated three miles away from us and they opened a neonatal intensive care unit, we decided to open a family room there so that families can just walk down the hall, and have a place of respite, have a place of relaxation, and get out of that baby's room. But they can also utilize the house and we have had families do that, we have had families both use the Ronald McDonald House to stay overnight, and then go back and use the family room during the day."

The anniversary

There will be a couple of events which will be showcased on Friday, July 27, at the Ronald McDonald House.

"We are going to have a ribbon cutting - open to the public - at 3 p.m., with house tours and a birthday cake," she said. "Then we are going to have a family reunion for those Ronald McDonald House guests, volunteers and donors from actual 4-7 p.m. on Friday, July 27."

 

Fundraising events

There are a couple of major events coming up in the next couple of months.

• National French Fry Day at McDonald's will be launched July 13, the local house will receive a penny per pound of French fries sold at local McDonald's.

• The 20th annual Ronald McDonald House Golf tournament at Twin Hills Golf & Country Club, 2019 S. Country Club Dr., Joplin. The tournament will be on Thursday, Aug. 9.

• The Big Red Shoe (15K, 5K and Mile Walk) will be held on Sept. 8, with the course starting and ending at Ronald McDonald House of the Four States.

For more information, call 624-2273.