COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Thursday marked a major milestone for a charity that creates a "home away from home" for Midlands families in need.
Ronald McDonald House of Columbia held a ribbon cutting to celebrate the product of the Capital Campaign, which is the new Ronald McDonald building. Nationwide, the Ronald McDonald House charity provides a housing opportunity, on donation basis only, for families who need a place to stay while their child goes through treatment at an area medical facility. No family is ever turned away for lack of ability to pay.
The new house on Colonial Drive in Columbia doubles the capacity of the old one with 16 bedrooms, while also providing bathrooms for each individual room.
"This new house is four times bigger than the other one, so it's going to allow us to service more children that are staying in area hospitals. So, we're going to be able to make a home away from home for more families," said Executive Director Karen Marinelli.
The building also boasts a number of fresh amenities, including multiple living rooms, an elevator and a spacious kitchen and pantry area.
Marinelli fought back tears as she thanked community donors, her family, and other contributors during today's celebration.
"It's amazing, because the most wonderful thing we can do is keep parents and children together, and the hardest thing we have to do is tell Mom or Dad that we don't have any room, so hopefully those days of having to say those words are almost over," Marinelli said.
One of the major factors that lifted the Capitol Campaign off the ground was the help of McDonald's in Columbia.
McDonald's presented an additional check for over $20,000 at the event, which is going directly towards the new house. In total, the McDonald's owners and operators have donated over $570,000 through fundraising efforts towards the new house since the campaign to build the house began back in 2013.
The house opens to families in need this month.