Building a Foundation of Support
Several Bell Bank employees are helping make the new Ronald McDonald House happen with their time, talent and Pay It Forward donations.
Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Red River Valley
Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Red River Valley, based in Fargo, provides a place for families with critically ill children to stay when they’re receiving medical care in the Fargo-Moorhead area. The organization, which served 326 families in 2016, asks families to contribute $15/night toward their stay if they are able, but 77 percent of families could not contribute toward their stay last year. No one is turned away because they can't pay.
Demand for rooms is growing. Ronald McDonald House had to waitlist 49 families in 2016, and some families waited days before getting into a room.
Ronald McDonald House is building a new 25,000-square-foot building, which will have 24 bedrooms, 24-hour staffing, an elevator and private bathrooms for families. The $5 million project is planned to open in the spring of 2018.
Bell Bank is financing the project and is a very proud supporter. Kelly Messerschmidt, who has served on the organization’s board of directors for 3 years, organized a group Pay It Forward donation and together with her co-workers raised $25,000 to help support the project. There will now be a Bell Bank Pay It Forward room at the new house.
“Without the housing, some families sleep in their cars because they can't afford hotel rooms when they’re already facing huge medical bills and they’re on unpaid work leave,” Kelly notes. “Providing them a safe place to stay takes away some of their stress. It’s also a place of stability for the children and their siblings.”