By Danielle McCarthy Everett
An elegant display of Christmas lights and other holiday festivities attracted dozens to Ronald McDonald House Charities in Temple Tuesday for the nonprofit’s annual Light a Light, Share a Night event. The event was a way to ring in the holiday season and raise money for the organization that provides a temporary home for families of hospitalized children.
People at the event had the opportunity to donate $10 to sponsor one of the large Christmas lights adorning the building or to make a donation in general. The $10 amount is the same amount families are asked to donate when they stay at the house, although no one is ever turned away for their inability to pay. The organization’s executive director, Susan Bolton, said the event is a way to encourage people to stop by to view the lights and a means to support the families staying at the house.
“The families who are here are going through treks and lots of suffering,” Bolton said. “We had a child die this week. We have another child who was diagnosed with two tumors and she’s already undergoing radiation and she’ll have to have chemo after the radiation. They live two hours away, so to have this place for them to be able to be here is very important.”
The night began with a musical performance from students at Scott Elementary School in Temple and continued with entertainment from the Temple High School Polyfoniks. Ronald McDonald, Santa Claus and KWTX-TV Meteorologist Brady Taylor hosted the event and the staff at Christmas Décor by GGA in Waco provided the Christmas lights at no charge.
“It does our heart good to provide something that looks like Christmas for the kids,” said Fred Huffman, president and owner of Christmas Décor by GGA. “You may have one child in the hospital, but the rest of the family has to be away from home. So, thanks to Susan Bolton, they’ve provided a Christmas atmosphere and it’s fun to see kids smile during a hard time.”
While the charity’s Christmas event comes only once a year, employees said community members can help all year round.
“Cash donations are always appreciated,” said Mark Cermak, director of finance for RMHC in Temple. “People can also donate their time. They can come here and volunteer and clean or cook meals. Some groups will cook a meal for our families.”
For more information, call Ronald McDonald House at 254-770-0910