Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Four States Welcomes Hundreds for Tree Lighting Event and Open House

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Santa Claus gives a hug to a young visitor at Ronald McDonald House of the Four States during the Tree Lighting Event and Open House on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023. Photo courtesy Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Four States

JOPLIN, Mo. – On Saturday, November 11th, 2023, Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Four States welcomed hundreds from the Four-State Area to witness and share the “Gift of Light” at 34th and Jackson. The kickoff to their 22nd Annual Gift of Light, Gift of Love included an Open House, where children and their families decorated cookies, crafted ornaments, enjoyed hot cocoa, experienced the talents of six local performing groups, and met the jolly Santa and Mrs. Claus. The crowd gathered outside Ronald McDonald House for the Tree Lighting Event, where Santa Claus and past guests, the Gleason family, lit the 22-foot Christmas tree and House while a firework show lit up the night sky.

Through the end of the year, Ronald McDonald House will be an electrical spectacle for the community to drive by and enjoy, featuring a 22-foot Christmas tree and thousands of lights on the House and grounds.

“Our lights shine bright for our community to enjoy, and most importantly for families who enter our doors every day as they face their darkest hours,” said Amanda Mitchell, Gift of Light Gift of Love Chair. “You, too, can be a light in the darkness when you share a gift of love as a Gift of Light, Gift of Love donor.”

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Funds raised enable Ronald McDonald House Charities to operate two programs that keep families close: Ronald McDonald House and the Ronald McDonald Family Room. These two programs o­ffer families the care they need while their sick child is treated at Freeman Health System or Mercy Hospital Joplin.

“Our goal this year is to raise $225,000 for the sole purpose of giving a family with a sick child what they need most — each other,” Mitchell said. “Families who stay with us are able to spend precious time with their ill child. They sense an ease of financial burden due to mounting medical bills and time away from their jobs. They have a sense of normalcy during a time of medical crisis. Caring sta­ff and volunteers meet their immediate needs. Sometimes the best medicine of all is having family nearby for more hugs, kisses and ‘I love yous.’”

A firework display lights the night sky at 34th and Jackson as the tree, House, and grounds were lit during the 22nd Annual Gift of Light Gift of Love Tree Lighting Event on Nov. 11, 2023.
Photo courtesy Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Four States

Visit rmhjoplin.org/rmhlights to learn more about this year’s feature family and donate a “Gift of Love” to the Charity.

For more information, visit www.rmhjoplin.org or call 417-624-2273.

Past guests of the Ronald McDonald House, Natalee and Tyler Gleason, brought their children Gracelynn and Lennex to help Santa Claus light the 22-foot Christmas tree, House, and grounds at Ronald McDonald House of the Four States on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023. Photo courtesy Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Four States

About Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Four States

Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Four States has served our communities since 1996 through its mission, which is to create, find, and support programs that directly support the health and well-being of children and their families. That mission is executed through its cornerstone program, Ronald McDonald House, and the Ronald McDonald Family Room, located at Mercy Hospital in Joplin. Our House provides temporary lodging for families of seriously ill children (ages 0-21) and ill expectant mothers, while our Family Room serves as a small oasis for families of pediatric patients just steps away from their child’s hospital room. For the over 200 families that Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Four States serves annually, we give a family with a sick child what they need most – each other.

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