Labor Day turned into a labor of love for members of the Waskom 4-H Club recently, as the group traveled to Dallas to visit with children and their families at the Ronald McDonald House there.
“Our club has multiple connections to many different children’s hospitals, cancer treatment centers and continuing rehab facilities,” Waskom 4-H Club Manager Jeff Stuart said. “My family has personally stayed at the Dallas house for four months while our youngest daughter, Emmy, was a patient at Dallas Children’s Hospital.”
Leaving bright and early at 7:30 a.m. Monday, Sept. 2, the group set out to continue serving the community by signing up to cook lunch and provide play time activities for the resident families there.
“We took a great group of 17 volunteers with us; our daughter, Emmy, was the youngest at 3 years old,” Stuart said. “The house capacity at this time is 75 people, and it was full. They are almost finished with an addition that should nearly double that occupancy.”
The Dallas Ronald McDonald House offers three meals a day for its residents, with those meals provided solely by volunteers.
“We are very fortunate to be able to work with local organizations that allow us to accomplish these acts of service,” Stuart said. “Marshall Elks Lodge No. 683 has helped us with a grant the past two years that help us do so much in our community.”
While the older students and adult volunteers were cooking, the younger volunteers invaded the common room for some play time with the young residents there.
Many children came over to participate in building blocks, playing games, playing the piano and more.
“Our young people have no idea the impact that they had on those kids that are going through a tough time or that have siblings going through a time,” Stuart said. “Just the time they took gives an escape from the doctor visits and the day to day that these patients endure.”
The Waskom 4-H is not only working in its local community, but reaching out where they see a need.
Projects that they participate in include: gathering donations for the Marshall Animal Shelter, Harrison County CPS office, Texas State Adopt a Highway Program and now partnering with the Ronald McDonald House.
Waskom 4-H is an after school club that is available to join for any students around Harrison County. For more information about joining a Harrison County 4-H club, contact the local Agrilife Extension Office at 903-935-8413.