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Rotary learns about Ronald McDonald House

Jill Christopher, executive director of the Ronald McDonald House in Fargo, was the guest speaker at the Nov. 7 meeting of the Jamestown Rotary Club. She was introduced by Rotarian Doug Frohlich.

The first Ronald McDonald House in Fargo opened in 1982 in a renovated house built in 1920 at 1234 Broadway by the downtown hospital. The Ronald McDonald House offers lodging and meals to families that have children who are in the hospital. The average stay is 10 days, however, they have had a family stay up to 183 days. Families are asked to pay a small fee if they can afford it. The original house had shared baths with two rooms and was not handicapped accessible. A second house was opened that had a split level that had steps to access. With the new Sanford Hospital being built, the old house was 3 1/2 miles from the hospital. A new Ronald McDonald House broke ground in July and will open in May 2018. It is a $5 million project that will have private baths and an elevator for easy access, Christopher said. So far, all but $620,000 has been raised for the project. The Fargo Ronald McDonald House is supported by 24 McDonalds locations including Jamestown. The Fargo location has three main fundraising projects that support the operation costs: The Sweetheart Ball, a golf tournament and donations from a local motorcycle club.

National Honor Society Student guests were Matthew Skavroneck and Cody Williamson from JHS. Other guests were Rob Craig and Tracey and Dernel Denning. Warren Tobin reminded Rotarians that November is Rotary Foundation month. The foundation supports the Rotary Endowment, annual giving and Polio Plus.

Erin Paulson presided over the meeting.. The invocation was given by Katie Andersen. Dave Smette collected “Happy Dollars” to support Rotary projects. Jen Bollingberg was the song leader with Mark Reeves on the piano.

The Nov. 14 meeting will be introduced by Steve Looysen. Ricki Ramlo will have the invocation. Song leader is Gail Martin. Jason Bitz will collect “Happy Dollars.”