Pulling For Kids
Hundreds of hurting families are finding comfort thanks to the Ronald McDonald Houses in Mobile and Birmingham and donations made by members of the Alabama Farmers Federation's Women's Committee. Ronald McDonald House is one of several philanthropic projects the State Women's Committee and County Women's Committees around the state participate in each year, and it's one of the most rewarding, according to State Women's Division Director Kim Earwood.
|Members of the Alabama Farmers Federation State Women's Committee recently visited the Ronald McDonald House in Mobile to deliver pull tabs collected by committee members around the state. From left are State Women's Committee Chairman Delle Bean of Calhoun County, immediate past chairman Dianne Nall of Monroe County, State Women's Division Director Kim Earwood and Mobile Ronald McDonald House Executive Director Al Tenhundfeld.|
"When the Alabama Farmers Federation rejoined the American Farm Bureau Federation a couple of years ago, we learned how the national organization helps support Ronald McDonald House charities," Earwood said. "In Alabama, we have a Ronald McDonald House in Birmingham and one in Mobile, both of which help hundreds of families each year. We collect food donations during National Food Check-Out Week for the houses, and throughout the year we collect pull tabs -- lots of pull tabs -- from aluminum cans to help raise money for the houses."
National Food Check-out Week was celebrated Feb. 4-10 and marked the time the average American household has earned enough disposable income -- that portion of income available for spending or saving -- to pay for its annual food supply.
The needs of Ronald McDonald House go on all year, and many of the County Women's Committees around the state have adopted the aluminum tab recycling program as another way to contribute.
Proceeds from recycled beverage tabs benefit the "home-away-from-home" for families who have children being treated at hospitals near Ronald McDonald House. Aluminum tabs are simple to collect and are cleaner and easier to store than the entire can.
"Being the parent of a sick child is stressful enough, but when a child requires hospitalization, it can be an emotional and financial nightmare," said Delle Bean of Calhoun County, chairman of the Federation's State Women's Committee. "I can't imagine what these parents are going through," she said during a recent trip to the Ronald McDonald House in Mobile. "What a blessing to have a nice, comfortable place to stay so close to the hospital."
To stay at Ronald McDonald House, families must live 25 miles or farther away and have a child 21 years old or younger receiving active treatment at any area hospital. A nominal charge of $12 per night is required, but that is reduced or waived for those who can't afford it.
The house provides comfortable bedrooms, each with a private bathroom. The communal areas include a well-stocked family kitchen, dining area, large family room, teen room, children's playroom, and exercise room and laundry facilities.
The guests at Ronald McDonald House are asked to help with household chores, which helps take their minds off their child's problems for a little while and makes them feel more at home.
For more information about Ronald McDonald House Charities of Alabama, visit their Web site at www.rmhca.org. For information about the Federation's Women's Division, visit the Federation Web site at www.AlfaFarmers.org.