Last year families from Whitley County spent 135 nights at the Ronald McDonald House in Lexington, and Laurel County families spent 388 nights there.
“This area is really where we pull most of our guests from,” Ann Evans, Executive Director of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Bluegrass, told members of the Williamsburg Kiwanis Club during its March 9 monthly meeting. “We do wonderful things for people whether they are out our back door or from Williamsburg.”
Evans was the keynote speaker at the meeting, and the Williamsburg Kiwanis Club voted to donate $500 to the charity.
The Ronald McDonald House in Lexington was founded in 1984. It is located in the shadows of Commonwealth Stadium.
Each of the 21 private bedrooms has a full bathroom and can accommodate up to four family members.
Families also have access to the large living and recreation areas, a fully stocked kitchen, free laundry facilities, and indoor and outdoor play spaces for children of all ages.
Although the charities cost to operate a room is $72 per night, the charity only asks families to contribute $10 per night, and no family is ever turned away due to an inability to pay.
“It has become a beacon of hope and faith and healing for families that need to be close to their sick children,” Evans said. “We are full all the time with a waiting list. There has been scientific and medical evidence that absolutely proves that anybody heals more quickly when they have the people they love close to them.”
Most of the families staying at the charity have babies in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
Evans noted that some families stay at the Ronald McDonald House for long periods of time.
She noted one family that recently left after spending 281 days there.
Evans said that the charity can use donations and is always in need of cleaning supplies.
Lexington’s Ronald McDonald House serves several hospitals, including Baptist Health Lexington, St. Joseph, the University of Kentucky Medical Center, Cardinal Hill, and Charter Ridge Behavioral Health System.
Also during the meeting, the board heard from Denny Byrd, a member of Cornerstone Community Church, who asked the club to help with a project to build a shelter house on Mackey Avenue behind the basketball court.
Mt. Outreach has agreed to build the shelter house, which will be used for a mission outreach program among other things, if Cornerstone can raise the $8,000 – $10,000 to purchase the materials for the project.
In addition, the club heard from Alvin Sharpe, a past club president and current Lt. Governor for the Kiwanis Kentucky-Tennessee District, about the Impact Archery program for youth in grades three through 12.
Sharpe asked the club to take the archery program on as one of the community service projects that it supports.
Sharpe also gave the club an update on the March 4 community yard sale, which was held at the Williamsburg Tourism Center.
The club made $635 from the rental of tables at the yard sale.
Sharpe said that all the community yard sales this year would be held at the tourism center with the Kiwanis Club and Shop with a Cop splitting the proceeds from table rentals. The next community yard sale there will be on April 1 from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.