Local Council Recaps

Encounter With Ronald McDonald Sparks Service Project

By Kerri Bruce, President Elect for the Springfield Council of IRA 2010-1011

When I say Ronald McDonald do you think of burgers and French fries? Most people do…but not the Bruce family! Ronald McDonald has a much greater meaning than food to families that need affordable housing close to a hospital while their child receives medical services. This was the case for my family.

My second child, Klee, was born in 2001 with a hole in her diaphragm which meant her organs chose to place themselves over the area where her right lung should have been. After being airlifted from Springfield to St. Louis Children’s Hospital, it was deemed she needed surgery. The recovery would be at least three weeks and we had no place to stay in St. Louis. The hospital networked with the Ronald McDonald House and provided us with a place where my husband and I and our oldest daughter could stay with only a short commute to the hospital. During Klee’s 2 ½ week recovery, our family spent most of our time at the hospital reading to her. As her right lung began to grow, we could not hold her so reading aloud to Klee was an outlet to pass the time. We brought some books from home but the Ronald McDonald House also had books we could borrow.

Miracle child Klee, is now a nine year old, vivacious, third grader who loves reading and writing. She is the poster child behind the Springfield Council’s service project for 2010-2011. We are collecting books at our four meetings and donating them to the Ronald McDonald Charity in Springfield. Our city is blessed with one house operating next to Cox South Hospital while another house is being constructed inside the new portion of the St. John’s Hospital. These books will be on the shelves in the playrooms at both houses and can be used as birthday or Christmas gifts for families staying at the house.

The kick off for our service project consisted of a power point telling my family’s story of staying at the Ronald McDonald House in St. Louis and the need for books that could be used for families in need. Staci Holland, Program Director for Ronald McDonald Charities of the Ozarks, was in attendance as well. She gave a summary of how her organization provides support for families, benefits from community support, and shared ways we can get involved. At the close of the September meeting, our council was thrilled to present Staci with twenty new books to take with her (twenty more were collected at our November meeting) and we are excited about the possibility of providing many more books to her after our remaining two meetings for the season.

Now when I say Ronald McDonald what do think of? If you would like to partner with our council for this service project or would like more information on how to donate books to local charities you may contact me at kbruce@spsmail.org.