The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

July 29, 2013

Our View: 15 years of helping families

— “It’s nice to know that there are people who care so much that they give of themselves, their time and, in many instances, their money.”

— The Lepianka family, Alpena, Mich.

The words of gratitude expressed by the Michigan family three years ago came after they had spent 28 days at the Ronald McDonald House of the Four States.

For them, the house was a refuge while their gravely ill child was being treated at a Joplin hospital.

On July 27, 1998, the Ronald McDonald House opened its doors at 3402 S. Jackson Ave. More than 2,300 families from 35 states and two foreign countries have stayed there while their children were being treated at area hospitals.

While priority is given to families living outside the Joplin area,  we know of many circumstances where local families who needed to be close to the hospital have used the services here. Families from 245 communities in the Four-State Area have stayed at the house for a total of 23,671 nights.

Most of our readers will never have to use this wonderful service, but it’s likely that they know someone who is the parent or grandparent of a sick child.

Annette Thurston, the director of the Ronald McDonald House, says a child’s illness can be so overwhelming both emotionally and financially for parents.

The house is a temporary affordable home where families receive support from other families and volunteers. All families are asked to contribute is $10 a night. And if that’s too much, then their stay is free.

We applaud the organization on its 15 years of service. We thank the many volunteers and donors who make it possible for a place like this to exist.

We would also encourage you to get involved in one of Joplin’s finest examples of community service.

You can do that with your time, your talents or your money.

“The house that love built” can also use more love.

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