BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Katherine Estes Billmeier, the Executive Director of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Alabama, receives benefits from her job that do not show up on her paycheck.
“(The families we help) bring a smile to my face every day. It’s great to have a job where you make a difference in the life of a person, at least one, every day,” Estes Billmeier said.
Kim Norris is one of those people. Her granddaughter was treated at Children’s of Alabama for two weeks due to a very rare condition. Norris was able to stay with her granddaughter thanks to the Ronald McDonald House.
“I couldn’t have gotten through this process without the Ronald McDonald House. I felt so comfortable and at home,” said Norris.
Soon, the Ronald McDonald House in Birmingham will be expanding! It will be large enough to serve more families. The building will expand from 41 guest suites to 73.
“We will double our impact. We will double the ability for families to stay close, to heal together, and to learn and serve and help each other out in the most difficult time in their lives,” said Estes Billmeier.
While they are very close to reaching their financial goal, they still need your help to get there. Saturday, October 15th makes the Day of Change. Stop by your local McDonald’s in Alabama and contribute change, buy a Happy Meal or a side of fries. Money from each order will go toward the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Alabama. The legacy left by one of the house’s founders, Max Cooper, will double every donation made.
“Max Cooper was just an incredible human being. He was one of our founders. Cooper at one time owned as many as 60 McDonald’s restaurants in the Birmingham region. And he never had children, so he considered the Ronald McDonald House children his own. And every time he came in here, he couldn’t wait to find out how the families were doing and how many were on the waiting list. So he understood the importance of finishing out this campaign,” Estes Billmeier said.
For families helped by the Ronald McDonald House, this fundraising campaign is now personal.
“I never realized what the little boxes (at McDonald’s) were for. So I have been telling all my family and friends and everybody, ‘this is the cause. I want you to support, to donate to, because they need more rooms, so families do not have to be on the waiting list very long,” Norris said.
That is the mission of the Ronald McDonald House; to provide a home away from home for any child and family in need. As Children’s of Alabama has expanded, so has the need for a place for families to stay while getting the care they require. Soon, that expansion will become a reality.
For more information, and exact locations of McDonald’s restaurants participating, click here.