COLUMBIA — Out-of-town families with sick children at local hospitals now have a place to stay and something to eat.
On Friday, the Missouri Farm Bureau will donate items to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Mid-Missouri at the charity's new location at 3501 Lansing Ave., a half-mile away from the Women's and Children's Hospital.
Typically, the nonperishable food items that are collected for donation include a variety of soups, pastas, cereals, cake mixes and single-serving snacks, said Diane Olson, director of promotion and education programs for the Missouri Farm Bureau.
The Missouri Farm Bureau will also donate items to Ronald McDonald House Charities in Kansas City, Springfield and Joplin, Olson said.
This partnership has been going on for at least 10 years, Olson said. The number of donations have remained stable over that period of time, and this year's haul was considered a "significant contribution."
At the Missouri Farm Bureau's annual state meeting last December, the 1,500 members in attendance, consisting of Missouri farmers and agribusiness personnel, were asked to donate nonperishable food items, Olson said.
In addition, the members were asked to donate pull-tabs from aluminum cans, which were recycled. The proceeds were used to purchase Walmart gift cards. The gift cards will be given to Ronald McDonald House locations and used to buy necessities such as milk, formula, meat, and fresh fruit and produce, Olson said.
The donations came at a great time because of the recent snowstorms, said Rachel Ellersieck, director of development at the Ronald McDonald House in Columbia.
According to their website, Ronald McDonald House Charities provide families with a place to stay — at little or no cost — when their children are hospitalized away from home.
The Columbia location has four full-time staff members, 10 part-time staff members, and volunteers who prepare food and cook meals for the families, Ellersieck said.
"We take care of the family's needs so they can focus more on their child," she said.
Supervising editor is Zachary Matson.