Barry County residents have the opportunity to help raise funds for the two Ronald McDonald Houses in Springfield, which provided 19 families with 207 nights of lodging last year. McDonald's of Cassville began its local Share a Heart Campaign on Jan. 25.
"Our twin boys were born eight weeks early and were in the NICU for three weeks," said Nicholas and Kristin McLeod, of Cassville. "During that time, we stayed at the Ronald McDonald House in Springfield.
"It was such a relief to stay close to our boys," continued McLeod. "I cannot express my thanks enough. They were very helpful and gave us support when we needed it."
The McDonald's restaurant in Cassville will collect funds for the Share a Heart Campaign throughout the month of February. By adopting a red, pink or gold paper heart for $1, $5 or $10, area residents can help support the campaign.
The adopted paper hearts, bearing the names of the adopting individuals, will be displayed at the local McDonald's restaurant until Feb. 28. Each donor will also receive an official entry form for a $1,000 Great Southern Bank MasterCard drawing, which will be held in March.
A total of 483 Barry County families have been served by the Springfield Ronald McDonald facilities over the last 24 years.
The Ronald McDonald House, which is the cornerstone project of Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Ozarks, is a home away from home for families of seriously ill and injured children who must travel far from home for medical care.
Other programs and services offered to families utilizing the Ronald McDonald House include: a family dinner program; laundry facilities; transportation to hospitals; and support from volunteers and staff.
A second Ozarks area Ronald McDonald House was built on the sixth floor of Mercy Hospital Springfield last year. The 8,000-square-foot facility is located next to a new Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.
The Ronald McDonald House of the Ozarks is 100 percent supported by donations from the private sector. The Share A Heart Campaign raised over $92,000 for the facility last year. Annual operations cost over $800,000.
For more information, visit the Ronald McDonald House website at www.ronaldmcdonaldhouse.org.