Ronald McDonald House Charities of Arkoma backers kicked up their heels --mostly red ones -- for the ninth annual Red Shoe Soiree on April 14 at Heroncrest in Springdale. Danyelle Sargent Musselman served as honorary host for the soiree's nearly 450 guests who helped raise more than $200,000 for the nonprofit organization.
Ronald McDonald Houses and Family Rooms in hospitals allow parents with hospitalized children to stay steps away, rather than miles away.
The evening's program included Hannah and Russell Reynerson sharing the story of their experience with those gathered at the Family Room in Rogers.
Ella and Wes Shelton, Taylor McKeen Shelton Foundation creators, presented the Taylor Award to Bryce Larry in recognition of his service as an RMHC Arkoma board member. The Taylor Award is in memory of the Sheltons' late son and is given "to a passionate leader that exudes empathy to those around them."
The group serves western Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma through a Ronald McDonald House at Washington Regional in Fayetteville; Ronald McDonald Family Rooms at Mercy Northwest Arkansas in Rogers and Mercy Fort Smith; a Ronald McDonald House in Fort Smith; and the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile, "a mobile dental clinic providing underserved children with comprehensive dental care in a school-based setting."
That evening, ten bedrooms were adopted – covering the yearly operational cost for providing over 3,600 overnight stays, Niesha Smith, marketing and communications manager tells me.
RMHC of Arkoma has served more than 17,000 chilren and families since 1999, -- 1,311 in 2022 -- through its Houses, Family Rooms and the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile, "saving families $1,700 per week on average," according to the group's 2022 annual report.
Other 2022 highlights include 258 children treated on the Care Mobile, who received $232,267 in 2,274 dental procedures. The Care Mobile has helped provide $4.2 million in services since 2010. Rooms and Houses provided 5,033 overnight stays with an average stay of 8.5 nights. And the Ronald McDonald House in Fort Smith marked its first year of operation in November.
Ways to help the organization include Guest Services, Share a Meal, Adopt a Pantry, volunteering and Hearts and Hands Society membership.
Guest services volunteers provide a "home-away-from-home" for families. Duties include checking families in, baking desserts, restocking rooms, light housekeeping, answering phones, assisting with mailing and data entry.
Share a Meal volunteers helped serve 5,056 meals in 2022, saving families an estimated $150,000 in meal expenses for families. Volunteers, participating either as individuals or as a group, prepare a family style meal for a date of their choice, then drop off the meal at their selected location.
Visit rmhcofarkoma.org to volunteer or for more information.
For more event photos -- nwadg.com/photos/society.
Columnist Carin Schoppmeyer can be reached by email at [email protected].
At a Glance
Red Shoe Soiree
Who: Ronald McDonald House Charities of Arkoma
What: Ronald McDonald Charities of Arkoma marked nine years of the annual benefit.
When: April 14
Where: Heroncrest in Springdale
Next: Golf 4 a Cause, Aug. 23, Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers; Red Shoe Shindig, Nov. 4, Wyndham Fort Smith City Center
Information: (479) 756-5600 or rmhcofarkoma.org