Local Ronald McDonald House New Campaign One Penny at a Time

Hiya Readers!

Remember awhile back when I wrote an article for the KC Star and outed some dork from Mickey D’s drive through for stealing my penny from the Ronald McDonald House change box? You don’t? Go on and read it. I’ll wait.

Well, they contacted me and wanted me to spread the word around that they are actively trying to raise money for the RMHC of Kansas City. And they are doing it, according to them…”ONE PENNY AT A TIME!”

Right on! I only wish they guy who was stealing from these sick kids and their families, knew that he fueled a campaign in his dishonest honor. HIGH-YAH!! *just threw in one of my Karate roundhouse kicks*

So here is the deal: Coinstar (you know the machine thing at the grocery store that looks as if it would either dispense water or twenties) is partnering with RMHC of KC this month (October 2013) to collect change to build a THIRD Ronald McDonald House!

First of all, this is exciting that those in need will get a much needed facility; but it’s also tragic there’s such a great need for families to eat, shower and sleep because there are so many ill children. Makes my heart heavy and achy.

So here is the PR packet they sent since they really summed it up well and why re-write something when they said I should give this information to you. I mean really!

Oh, and you should read it cause they are offering PRIZES folks. Real prizes!!

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – With the school year back in session, parents look for constructive ways to get their children involved in programs that build self-esteem, teach them about helping others and start them on a lifetime of philanthropy.

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Kansas City (RMHC-KC) was selected by Coinstar to be one of few locations in the country to receive a Coinstar machine at its House to encourage families, area children’s organizations, schools, church groups and others to come together to donate quarters, pennies, nickels and dimes to benefit RMHC. A penny here, a nickel there. The change can add up to help a charity make real change!

The machine will be temporarily set up in the lobby of the Ronald McDonald House at 2502 Cherry Street, Kansas City, Mo., and the public is invited to stop by any time during the month of October to deliver donations and get a tax-deductible, printed receipt from the machine. The Coinstar machine will count the coins and automatically print a receipt.

Engaging Kansas City’s youth is especially important this fall as the 32-year-old local non-profit embarks on the final public phase of its capital campaign to build a much-needed third Ronald McDonald House in Kansas City. With less than $800,000 left to raise for the total $4.5 million campaign, funds from programs such as the Coinstar machine fundraiser are earmarked to help build the third house.

Of course, good competition always helps build excitement. RMHC-KC will provide a prize to the local group who raises the most change. To enter the KC Coinstar Competition, submit a receipt from the Coinstar machine and be sure to include a name and phone number. Receipts can be entered to win at the front desk at the Ronald McDonald House near the Coinstar machine.

The prizes are as follows:

1st Place – An assembly and/or visit from the Kansas City Chief’s mascot KC Wolf and the Chiefs Cheerleaders

2nd Place – A personal visit and magic trick by Ronald McDonald himself!

3rd Place – Free ice cream cones from McDonald’s for an entire grade/class

Event Information:

The final date to deliver coins is Oct. 27. Families, youth groups and schools are invited to collect coins throughout the month of October and deliver their coins between 6 and 8 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 27 and participate in a special Halloween-themed Trunk-or-Treat event in the parking lot of Ronald McDonald House, 2502 Cherry Street, Kansas City, MO 64108. The event includes candy, House tours, a visit from Ronald McDonald, magic tricks and more.

About Ronald McDonald House Charities of Kansas City
The mission of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Kansas City is to reduce the burden of childhood illness on children and their families by providing a “home away from home” while they are receiving medical care at Kansas City-area hospitals. On any given night, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Kansas City serves 67 families. Annually, it provides lodging to nearly 5,000 families and supports more than 46,000 visits from inpatients and their families at its Family Room space within Children’s Mercy Hospital. By providing a comfortable place to stay, warm meals and other supportive services, RMHC-KC works to keep families together during a difficult time. Families staying at RMHC-KC will experience a safe, peaceful environment so they can focus on what’s most important: their child’s health.

Feel free to pass this on to your local schools, church groups, local scout troops and see if you can be the winners on this contest. This would also count as community service hours which I know is required in many school districts in the metro.

Have a great philanthropic Wednesday!


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A Penny for Your Thoughtlessness

Special to The Kansas City Star
August 2, 2013


As I was idling in the McDonald’s drive-through waiting for my caffeine fix, I was in one of my giving moods.

I know it may sound odd, but I usually feel charitable at this franchise. And no, it’s not because my endorphins are about to motor up, turning me into Santa Claus minus a few chin hairs, but their little box of caring always brightens my day. I know — nerd alert!

When I order my beverage I routinely hand over more cash than I’m charged. I can’t drive up to the window, stop, pull out my readers to find the exact change in my wallet, and then move forward in a prompt fashion. Therefore, I hand over bills or bigger coins I can still see.

Since I have vertically challenged arms, I asked the employee at the window to drop my change into the Ronald McDonald House donation bin below the drive-through window. I’ve done this for years and nary a problem.

Until that Tuesday.

My order total came to $1.09 and I handed the cashier $1.10. Apparently, a dime popped into my hand and I recognized the shape by feel.

“Can you please put the penny in the Ronald McDonald House bin?” I asked, feeling bad since I was barely tipping.

“Harrumph,” responded the cashier.

That was rude. I guess he noticed I was cheap today!

Then right before I pressed on the gas pedal, I saw from the corner of my eye “Honest Abe” take the penny out of the drawer, pretend to drop it in the donation box, but then he put it in his pocket!

A penny.

One cent!

How bad off do you have to be to steal a penny? I immediately felt pity for Mr. McStealy Pants — right before I reported it to the manager.

Then I thought, he didn’t take one cent from his place of business (not that it would make it right). He stole it from the Ronald McDonald House! A wonderful charity that provides for families whose children are hospitalized with chronic or terminal diseases.

Many years ago when I worked at Children’s Mercy Hospital, the Ronald McDonald House was an amazing respite for out-of-town families dealing with life-altering situations. With these facilities, parents could periodically get a hot meal, take a shower, do some laundry and have a bed to sleep in — all for free.

Some of these families had children who were hospitalized for weeks or months. Many parents couldn’t afford a long-term hotel and they didn’t want to be far from their child. Who would?

These family don’t have to worry about hospitality services thanks to Ronald McDonald houses and people who donate time and money. That includes regular folks who drop spare change into donation bins at the golden arches.

According to the Kansas City chapter of Ronald McDonald House website at www.rmhckc.org, “Small change dropped in donation boxes helped raise more than $28 million last year in the U.S.”

That’s no chump change.

In addition to money that’s raised at several annual events, the organization has wish lists for food and paper items, linens, cleaning supplies, personal hygiene items and office supplies.

They also need volunteers to help at front desks, provide assistance to families, help with light housekeeping, general hospitality and some maintenance. They need people or groups to cook meals for the families of the hospitalized children as well.

I have not returned to that McDonald’s since the Great Penny Heist of 2013.

But I know every cent does matter, so I’ll continue to spread the word.

And next time I’m in the drive-through, I’m going to stop my car, reach out my stubby arm, and chuck my own change into that box!

Have you ever watched someone steal something in front of your eyes? What did you do?

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