By Bonnie Culverhouse
Anyone who has ever had a hospitalized loved one knows the importance of rest for the caregiver.
Ronald McDonald House has released plans to build a new $10 million, 3-story, 20,000 square ft. facility in the Shreveport-Bossier area that will house families and serve hospitals there and in surrounding parishes.
Ronald McDonald House CEO Janell Mason said the project “just fell into place.”
“We started fund-raising, just lightly, the fourth quarter of 2022,” Mason said. “We’ve raised $3.6 million already.”
Construction will not begin until 80 percent of the funding is committed.
Mason said it will be located near Willis-Knighton South. There will be 20 family suites, indoor/outdoor place spaces, expansive kitchen and large dining room, laundry rooms, meals and snacks and personal care items, just to name a few amenities. All services are provided free to families.
During a special event Thursday, Minden Medical Center, Northwest Louisiana Medical Center (Ruston) and Allegiance Health Management presented Mason with a check for $25,000. She told MMC CEO Jim Williams the hospitals will be listed on a founding wall, and a suite will be named for them.
Williams, who has a story to tell about his son, said he was more than happy to help garner support for the project from area hospitals.
“I had a scenario where had there been a Ronald McDonald House at that time, I could’ve taken advantage of the services,” Williams said. “My son was born way too early. He was transported to Shreveport.”
Williams’ son stayed in the hospital several months, and a local facility would have helped in many ways.
Ashleigh Benson, whose son Cole is a St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital patient, shared his story with the group.
“When we first took him to Memphis, we were told we would be there an extended period of time and not able to leave,” Benson said.
She said her family wondered how they would eat, where would they sleep and how they were going to pay for these things.
“Ronald McDonald House was a huge blessing,” she said, going on to describe the facilities that included a cafeteria, apartments, a game room, playground area and other amenities.
Goals for the area Ronald McDonald House are to break ground in the first quarter of 2024 with a grand opening Dec. 31, 2025.
To become a founding donor, contact Mason at 501-374-4376 or email janell@RMHCArkansas.org. Also contact Roy Griggs, Campaign Chair at 318-347-3306 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.