Ronald McDonald House Charities Breaks Ground on New House
COLUMBIA- Dozens of people gathered Wednesday morning for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Mid-Missouri groundbreaking ceremony.
The organization is beginning phase one of its plan called "Building a House to Call Home" to construct a new house for families with children in the hospital. The house it currently uses to serve those families sits just off of Stadium Boulevard. It contains nine functioning bedrooms, shared bathroom spaces, limited community space, and is not accessible for handicapped individuals or those with special needs.
The new house will be situated at 3501 Lansing Avenue. It will feature one extended-stay apartment and 18 bedrooms, each with two queen beds and their own bathroom spaces. In addition, the house will be ADA accessible by providing an elevator and wider hallways, have more common spaces for families to relax together, and room for future expansion. Ronald McDonald House Executive Director, Medody Bezenek, said perhaps one of the most important features of the home is that it will be within walking distance from the Children's Hospital and in close proximity to Boone Hospital Center -- an amenity the old home no longer has.
"I think folks are really excited about the new Ronald Mcdonald House. They know that the families need some additional space, and that the needs of the families have changed over the last 30 years," Bezenek said.
Phase one of the construction project has been ongoing for the last two weeks and is expected to be completed within six months. Construction for phase two, which includes completion of the home's interior and furnishings, is anticipated to last about six months. But its start will depend on donations to help with funding. The estimated cost for completing the home is $2.6 million and it is funded primarily through individual, business, and corporate donations. Donations for the project can be made through the RMHC of Mid-Missouri's website.
Brooke Hartman and her family benefited from the Ronald McDonald House Charities ten years ago when their daughter Ashton was born. Ashton had a hole in her heart and other medical needs that kept her in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Hartman said she didn't want to leave her daughter's side. A nurse recommended the Ronald McDonald House, and Hartman said it was such a great experience, she's helping to give back.
"The Ronald McDonald House gave our family a warm bed, a nice hot meal, a place to do our laundry, all these things we hadn't thought about doing."
Every year on Ashton's birthday, she donates items the Ronald McDonald House needs -- items like toothbrushes, toothpaste. She said though she can't remember how the organization helped her family when she was in the hospital, she's doing what she can to help others in need.
"It's just a helpful thing," Ashton said. "There are people who need items and I know I'm not going to get a ton of stuff, I'm going to get stuff I can donate to the Ronald McDonald House."