AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Kids love birthday parties; from cake and ice cream, games and sometimes even a clown. This weekend though you might say it’s the clown having the birthday party.
"Every 5 years for our birthday we have local artists that decorate children's chairs and then we pit them in an auction", explains Luke Oliver, Director of Marketing for the Ronald McDonald House of Amarillo. "We have 35 chairs from local artists and 5 from children artists and we will have those up for auction at the gala."
Funds raised at the birthday gala help the house operate and Executive Director Shelley Cunningham gives us a tour of the facility.
"So our families can use the kitchen to prepare meals", Shelley points out. "And about 25 nights out of the month we have meal groups that come and prepare a hot meal at the end of the day."
When a family comes it is almost like a motel room.
Cunningham continues, “They have their own private bedroom with a private bathroom, we have Temperapedic mattresses donated so they have a wonderful, comfortable place to sleep. The bedrooms either have two queen sized beds, or a queen and a twin. We guarantee families to have one room while they stay here, sometimes a second room might be available if there is a special need.”
It really is like a home away from home.
"We have commercial washers and dryers because we do all of our own linens here, but we show families how to use them,” said Cunningham.
Some families may stay just a night or two while others call the Ronald McDonald House home for several months at a time during lengthy illnesses like cancer.
Luke Oliver read a post from a family that utilized the house: Our son was born 5 weeks early and we just celebrated his second birthday this past August. We are so incredibly blessed to be able to stay so close. He has hit every milestone and hasn’t missed a beat. Thank ya’ll again.
Cunningham added, "We have families that say "if they can't be home - this is the best place to be"."
Now, back to the birthday party gala which you can attend.
“The event is this Saturday at the Cerulean Gallery and the doors will open at 7:00 p.m.”, according to Luke. “In addition to the chairs we will have some other auction items and just all the things you look forward to with a gala: good music, good food, good drink, good fellowship and just really a great evening to come together and support the house.”
Difficult times with kids are just worse when they have to be away from home, but the Ronald McDonald house provides a home and welcomes folks into their family during tough times. Now that’s some good news.