Wow – what an amazing past two weeks! On February 8th, we kicked off our 31st Annual Sweetheart Ball at a new location to accommodate more people. The Delta Hotel was filled with supporters, volunteers, and staff who strive to keep families together during times of medical crisis. We were so happy to celebrate our mission with 500 of our closest friends as the night kicked off. The silent auction opened, dinner was served, and Shauna Wimer, Board President, and Jill Christopher, Executive Director, gave an update on the past year at RMHC. After supper, we welcomed a past family, the Davidsons, who stayed in the Ronald McDonald House of the Red River Valley for 17 days as their baby Jacob grew stronger. Both Luke and Melinda expressed their gratitude for their accommodations, the meals from volunteers, and the kindness that embodied each person they came across in their journey.
Afterward, we asked the audience to help us in Sharing a Night to help us continue to care for families who need a room while their child is in the hospital. The room came alive as people pledged to help future families. By the end of the night, we had raised $150,000. As the night ended, we knew our work wasn’t done as Giving Hearts Day was just 5 days away.
Giving Hearts Day is a 24-hour fundraiser for nonprofits in ND & MN. This year, we had a generous match up to $44,000 which doubled any donation to a donor’s money could go farther. This year, our theme was “Giving Hearts Open Doors”. This campaign kicked off a few weeks before as we dropped off a red & white striped door at select supporting businesses – RDO, Arvig, Thunder Coffee are a few – to raise awareness. The door had a mailbox that held the key to unlock a giving heart. We also had a few mini red & white striped doors made by Sign Badgers to hand out to our amazing Giving Hearts Day committee.
The metro was buzzing as the day started. Everywhere you looked, you couldn’t escape the fact that February 13th was Giving Hearts Day! People wore their GHD shirts, had stickers on their shirts, and posted about what charities they were supporting. We kicked off our day at 8:30 am and had already raised $17,000 which is enough to cover the average stay of 10 days for 5 families in each of our 17 rooms!
For each interval hit, a new door opened to offer a virtual tour of the house. Giving Hearts opened doors all day! Some of those rooms were the magic room, pantry, garage, and most importantly, to the room where our families stay which offer two queen beds and a private bathroom. At the end of the day, close to 700 Giving Hearts had donated close to $117,000 for Ronald McDonald House to continue to care for families in 2020.
Huge thank you to Dakota Medical Foundation, Alex Stern Foundation, Nodak Insurance Company, Cindy & Mike O’Keefe and close to 700 giving hearts who chose us to give to on February 13th.