The Junior League of Kansas City, Missouri: women building better communities.
By: Jen Johnson, 100th Anniversary Community Service Project Chair
A group of committed volunteers banded together in 1980 to establish Ronald McDonald House Charities of Kansas City (RMHC-KC). The following year, they opened the nation’s 27th Ronald McDonald House which served eleven families. Today RMHC-KC serves 67 families each night at the two Ronald McDonald Houses located near Hospital Hill and the Family Room located inside Children’s Mercy Hospital. In 2012, the three facilities provided temporary lodging for 5,000 families. In response to the growing need for services in the Kansas City community, RMHC-KC’s Board of Directors approved a proposal to design and build a new 21-bedroom Ronald McDonald House. Ground broke on the new Wylie House in October 2013. In September 2014, the Ronald McDonald House will open its doors to more families and children in need.
The League’s history with RMHC-KC goes back to the 1980s. In the tradition of pairing volunteers and funding, the League gave more than $55,000 to assist building the Cherry Street Ronald McDonald House between 1987 and 1989. Our members also assisted with cooking meals for the families and helping with other duties. Since that time League members have also come to Ronald McDonald House to serve meals as part of their New Member small groups or with their committees.
In November and December 2013, New Member small groups chose an evening to prepare and serve dinner at one of the two Ronald McDonald Houses. This was one of their volunteer opportunities and is their community give back project.
“The project is a great way for them to give back to families in need and be able to interact with them directly. As an added bonus for the New Members, it’s a great opportunity for them to come together as a team like they will during future placements as actives,” said Jessica Peltzer, New Member Education Chair.
Because of our strong history of partnering with RMHC-KC, the 100th Anniversary Community Service Project Committee chose to continue our relationship as part of a special anniversary project. On April 5 and 12, the League will provide volunteers at all three Ronald McDonald Houses to assist with indoor and outdoor projects. This service project opportunity for New Members, Actives and Sustainers will continue a long-standing tradition of serving families in need.