Few things attract attention like a stellar pair of red shoes. And if you can run a few miles in those shoes, all the better.
Get ready for the inaugural Red Shoe Run, a May 11 fundraiser for Ronald McDonald House Charities of West Georgia, Inc. The event, which starts in downtown Columbus, includes a 5K walk/run and Smile Mile.
Registration starts at 7 a.m. May 11. The Smile Mile is 8 a.m. and the 5K is 8:30 a.m.
Melody Moran, development director for Ronald McDonald House Charities of West Georgia, Inc., chatted with us about the upcoming race and the organization it benefits. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Which resources are available through your organization?
The Ronald McDonald House is a "home away from home" for families who live outside the Columbus area and must travel here to seek specialized medical care for their children. We provide each family with a private bedroom and bath, home-cooked meals, laundry facilities and all the comforts of home.
Families are referred to our House by a physician, nurse or social worker. Families may stay with us for as long as their child is receiving treatment in a local facility. Each family is asked to make a small donation for their stay, which is based on income. If a family is unable to donate, they stay absolutely free of charge.
One of the best things for families staying with us is the opportunity to be surrounded by other families who are here under similar circumstances. Having that support system is so important. Of course, our staff and volunteers are always here to support them as well.
What's the most rewarding part of your job?
That is easy. The most rewarding part is seeing families leave with healthy children and having them return for visits so we can see how much they've grown and how well they are doing. We love those visits! It enables us to see that what we do truly makes a difference.
What led you to pursue this career path?
I began volunteering to assist with fundraising for the Ronald McDonald House in 1993 when it was still under construction. When the House opened in December 1994, I became a volunteer in earnest. I cooked meals, worked at the desk and served as weekend manager.
Eventually, I came on board part-time as the Resident Manager. My daughter and our toy poodle Peaches lived at the House for five years. In 2011, I got remarried and moved out of the House. Within just a few months, a position became available that was perfect for me and I was hired as their full-time Development Director. Having a history with the House as well as a degree in business management was a great plus for both myself and the organization.
Does the Ronald McDonald House offer volunteer opportunities?
We offer many volunteer opportunities! We have volunteers from preteens to senior citizens who help with nearly every aspect of the House. Our volunteers are the heart of this House and we could never do what we do without them. We have opportunities for individuals, groups, families, schools and organizations. All of this information is available on our website or by calling Beth Mancini, our Program Manager, at 706-321-0033, ext 101.
What can people expect from the Red Shoe Run on May 11?
This is our very first fundraising run! We are looking forward to a fun day that will include a 1-mile (Smile Mile) that is perfect for young runners or families and the 5K run (or if you're like me...walk). One of the greatest parts of this day is having the opportunity to meet Ronald McDonald himself while raising money for the Ronald McDonald House.
We think it's a win-win. We've made registering for this event convenient and affordable so everyone can join in the fun. Registration for adults is only $25, children 10 and under are $10 and children under age 5 are free. The Smile Mile is only $10 (under age 5 free).
Sign up by going to our website . I will be happy to answer any questions concerning the Red Shoe Run or our other programs. I can be contacted at 706-321-0033, ext 103 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.