In about March 2018, I was asked to attend a “quilt guild” meeting with a friend I had recently met. I have sewn all my life but knew nothing of quilting and thought I had no interest. I mistakenly believed quilting to be all about making a bedspread. But, in an effort to honor my friend’s request, I agreed to go. I was absolutely enthralled with the “pictures made out of fabric” that I saw at that meeting. I knew this was something I must do. I bought a new sewing machine in May of 2018 and took off like a racehorse out of the gates.
My first quilts were a series of nursery rhyme scenes from my own original drawings. I hoped to sell them but figured I could give them to my grandchildren if they didn’t sell. Much to my surprise, when I showed them to the owner of a local children’s book store, she bought them all and asked me to make a few more. She hung them above the bookshelves in her store and they fit perfectly and look great. Then she asked me if I would make a quilt from a watercolor picture that her son had made for her. She wanted this quilt to be bigger so children could snuggle in it on the reading couch in the back of her store. I first spoke with the artist to ask permission because I want children to know that they have ownership of things that they create. I make a big deal out of this with every quilt I make. When I completed this quilt, which depicts a mouse saying “Please read”, I knew I had found a calling. This process combines my passion for children’s original artwork with my lifelong love of fabrics.
The children’s bookstore asked me to put business cards on their counter and I began to receive calls for quilts. One day I met a woman who asked me about my quilting. I will never forget her question to me after we had spoken just a few minutes. She said, “Wouldn’t it be nice if you could use your talent to honor children who have died?” She told me that she had just lost her great nephew two weeks prior and that she had some of his last pieces of artwork. I was quite taken aback and told her I would think about that. My husband and I decided that we really did not need the money that a quilt business brings in, so……I contacted my new friend and said that, yes, I would make that quilt as a gift to her great nephew’s mother. At that point I began telling each family that there was a catch to this gift. When I brought them their quilt, they would need to refer me to another family that I could sew for. Not necessarily a family who had experienced loss but a family whose child was experiencing illness. This worked well but extremely slowly. I knew I could do much more. I mentioned this to a friend and she told me to contact the Ronald McDonald House so I did. It was a great decision because now I have access to many families that I can honor with a quilt.
I figure it takes me about 20 hours to make most of the quilts which measure about 3’ x 4’. This includes time for fabric shopping and a lot of staring at the original artwork. The most fun part of the process is deciding how to approach the project because the medium used makes different approaches necessary.
I make sure each family receives their quilt within a couple weeks. I have delivered nine quilts to Ronald McDonald families so far.
My very favorite comment was made by a father from Spain. He and his wife bring their two daughters to Columbus every three months for treatments. He pointed at the quilt I had made the girls and he said, “This is great reminder………of you………of here………of all”. That’s about when I lost it and I cried all the way home in the car. I think I would like those words printed on a plaque or something.
I do it because I love to do it. I love to get inside a child’s head as I analyze what they drew first and what later, or how they used the marker or paint brush. I love the honesty and the freedom and the charm of children’s artwork. I love to work with fabrics.
The culture of quilting seems to me to be about two things really: comfort and legacy. I hope that families find physical comfort snuggled under a quilt I have made. And I label each piece carefully so that when it’s found in a box, many generations from now, it will also serve as a legacy for the child that inspired it. I get more pleasure than I can describe from looking at children’s artwork and trying to recreate it. I am beyond honored to be a part of their stories.
I plan to continue to make these quilts indefinitely, as long as I am financially able. I use only quality materials and they are not inexpensive. It is my paying customers that allow me to continue to make gifts. As long as I can rustle up a few paying customers, I will make quilts for the families of Ronald McDonald House.
I have always been a person who goes after what they want; who makes things happen; that type of person. In my retirement years, I have been overcome with the feeling that it’s time to stop that; to just relax and see what comes to me. This new approach to life is working miraculously for me. Not one aspect of my quilt making has been my own idea. Each step has occurred because someone asked me to do something or encouraged me to do something. Two years ago I could not have imagined that I would be doing the things that I’m doing today and I’ve never been happier. As I said earlier, I am beyond honored to be a part of the Ronald McDonald House and the families that I sew for. Sincere thanks to all of you.
In its first five years, BobcaThon raised nearly $350,000 in support of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio. But for the Ohio University students behind this year-long fundraiser that culminates in a 12-hour dance marathon, it’s the stories of courage and resilience from area residents served by the nonprofit that will echo throughout their lifetimes.
“There are moments of real emotion where we all kind of realize what the impact of this event is and how important all our work is,” said Maggie Wolf, BSC ’20.
An Ohio University senior, Wolf has participated in BobcaThon since her first year at OHIO and is serving as president of this year’s fundraiser, which will come to a close on Saturday, Feb. 15, at the BobcaThon 2020 12-hour dance marathon. The event is the pinnacle moment in a year-long campus- and community-wide quest to raise awareness for children with serious illness and their families as well as funds for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio, which provides free housing, meals and other assistance to families of children in Columbus-area hospitals.
Wolf has seen the impact of the nonprofit’s work firsthand. A couple close to her stayed at the Ronald McDonald House while their son underwent cancer treatment at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Sadly, the boy passed away last summer.
“That’s the connection I really feel now,” said Wolf, adding that stories like these are the reason BobcaThon exists and a big component of the dance marathon, during which families served by the Ronald McDonald House take the stage and share their experiences.
These stories, Wolf said, don’t always have happy endings, but they remind everyone how necessary their efforts are.
“A lot of the time it’s professors or administrators from the University who are telling these stories about their children,” Wolf said. “And even if you might not know the professor, it’s really eye-opening to see that they live right here in the community and are facing such a challenge.”
Coming off a record-setting year in which BobcaThon raised more than $110,000, the BobcaThon 2020 leadership team worked with advisers in the Ohio University Alumni Association to solicit some expert advice on how to sustain the fundraiser’s momentum. They consulted with an individual who has studied dance marathon fundraisers and who advised them, in light of their extraordinary success over the past five years, to focus their efforts more on awareness than dollars raised.
“We shifted our focus to outreach and trying to partner with as many student organizations as possible, so we could set ourselves up better for future fundraising,” Wolf said. “We added new positions to our team, so I think we grew in different aspects than just the dollar amount that everyone sees.”
Wolf said that organizers expect about 370 dancers to participate this year, 55 more than last year. Each BobcaThon participant has been asked to raise at least $100.
For the students who participate in BobcaThon, it’s an opportunity to make an impact on a community that most of them will only call home for a few years and a chance to see the power of their philanthropy in action.
For Wolf, her final BobcaThon will be bittersweet as the fundraiser has not only been a significant part of her OHIO experience, but one she will carry with her after she graduates.
“BobcaThon is what helped me secure my internship and made me passionate about nonprofits going forward,” she said. “I’ve learned so much about how to present myself in a professional way and how to lead my peers, which at first can be kind of awkward. And, being a part of BobcaThon has given me a chance to give back to a community that has given me the best four years.”
The sixth annual BobcaThon kicks off at noon on Feb. 15 in the Baker University Center Ballroom and ends at midnight when this year’s fundraising total will be announced. For information on how you can get involved in and support BobcaThon 2020, visit the BobcaThon Facebook page.
(MARYSVILLE, Ohio) – The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) BEST Program for youth ages 8-21 years hosted the BEST Celebrity Showdown at the Clark County Cattle Battle to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio. The event was held on Friday, January 24, 2020, at the Champions Center in Springfield, Ohio. The Clark County Cattle Producers assisted in coordinating the event.
Youth who raised a minimum of $100 participated in this year’s community service project, dressed up their cattle and presented them to the celebrity judge, Erica Collura of Cincinnati 12 News. Through donations from family, friends, the community and members of the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association, youth participating in the Celebrity Showdown raised $16,370. Additionally, a silent auction was held with numerous items selling to generous supporters that raised an additional $3,710 for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio. In total, the event raised $20,080, and contributions can continue to be made through May 2, 2020.
Incentive prizes will be awarded to the top fundraisers at the OCA BEST Program Awards Banquet on May 2, 2020. Donations to Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio will continue to be accepted after the Celebrity Showdown until the BEST Banquet. Anyone can donate conveniently online at https://www.ohiocattle.org/best/community-service. Donations can be attributed to a BEST participant’s name through the online donation form. Online contributions may be made through May 2, 2020 to be accredited to the BEST participant’s cumulative fundraising total for the year.
About Ohio Cattlemen’s Association BEST program
BEST is a youth program of the OCA that recognizes Ohio’s junior beef exhibitors through a series of shows. Juniors who participate in these sanctioned shows earn points for their placing at each show. The OCA BEST program promotes educating Ohio’s juniors about the beef industry’s issues and rewards the successful accomplishments and hard work of those junior beef producers.
About Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio
Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio keep families together and near the medical care they need. Core RMHC programs — Ronald McDonald House, Ronald McDonald Family Room, and Ronald McDonald Care Mobile programs — provide access to health care and enable family-centered care. For more information, visit www.rmhc-centralohio.org or call (614) 227-3700.
[Columbus, OH] December 17, 2019– Celebrating Easton’s 21st year of giving, the Easton Community Foundation will partner with six community organizations for its 2020 Change for Charity program. With more than 100 applications submitted for consideration, the following six non-profits have been selected and will be featured throughout Easton over a two-month period:
The Easton Community Foundation selects six area nonprofits to highlight throughout the property so that Easton’s 30 million annual visitors are aware of each organization’s mission, community impact, and also how to access their services. In addition, the nonprofits receive a portion of the parking meter and ticket revenue to support their community efforts.
Since its debut, the Easton Community Foundation has provided over $7.5 million in financial support to hundreds of organizations that strengthen the central Ohio community through services and programming in the areas of education, health and social services. Its primary community-focused initiatives – in addition to the Change for Charity program – include Cornerstone Event fundraisers for some of central Ohio’s most respected charities, the Easton Community Foundation Scholarships for area high school students at schools including Mifflin High School, Northland High School, Fort Hayes High School, Gahanna Lincoln High School, Linden-McKinley High School and Columbus Africentric and events and partnerships benefiting the community, and local organizations.
In 2019, Easton hosted events for Ruling Our eXperiences (ROX), Pink Ribbon Girls, Boy Scouts of America, The Columbus Foundation, Buckeye Ranch, Harmony Project, Songs for Sounds and many more.
Easton has also served as a site for Canine Companion service dog training, a Pelotonia pop-up store, Salvation Army bell-ringing, and job and volunteer fairs. While Change for Charity provides a unique opportunity for six select organizations, Easton is dedicated to working with the community and creating accessible opportunities to benefit the many incredible organizations Columbus has to offer all year round.
“It is our goal at Easton to support and recognize organizations that are making a significant impact in our community, and central Ohio as a whole,” said Jennifer Peterson, Chief Executive of Easton. “We are fortunate enough to be able to do so not only through providing financial support but also by helping to raise awareness through unique opportunities here at Easton to educate community members on what important work these organizations do. Whether it’s learning about volunteer experiences available through Besa, helping to build with Habitat for Humanity-MidOhio or being inspired by a youth performance or piece of art created at The King Arts Complex, we are truly honored to be able to connect our guests with these incredible organizations.”
Each partner receives a substantial donation through Easton’s parking meter proceeds along with in-kind marketing and publicity opportunities that reach more than 30 million visitors annually.
CONTACT: RYAN WILKINS
Brand new fundraiser, the Dean’s Charity Steer Show, raises over $152,000 for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio
COLUMBUS, OHIO – What happens when you take a dedicated group of community leaders, well-known celebrities, 4-H youth, and steers? You get one of the most successful new fundraisers in the history of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio. The Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences vice president and dean, Cathann A. Kress had an idea. Over a delicious hot dog lunch with Leslie Bumgarner, President of Telhio Credit Union at Cap City Diner, they cooked up the beginning of what became the Dean’s Charity Steer Show. Months of planning and coordination, along with strong fundraising efforts, brought together a stellar team from many different areas of specialty.
Elizabeth Harsh, Executive Director of the Ohio Cattleman’s Association helped recruit some of the most talented Ohio 4-H members in the surrounding counties, all who had been working hard at raising prize steers. Each of the 4-H youth were paired with a well-known celebrity from the community, including Clark Kellogg, Clay Hall, Shelley Meyer, and Dean Kress herself. Each team was responsible to come up with a name, t-shirt design, and most importantly, raise funds to support their steer in the show.
The event itself, which took place at The Ohio State Fair, was a smashing success, filling the bleachers of the Voinovich Center. Attendees were able to visit with the steers, celebrities, and 4-H’ers, while deciding which steer they believed was the winner. The prizes awarded were Best Steer, Showmanship, and People’s Choice. After all was said and done, the event generated a whopping $152,000.
“We are so proud to have been able to partner with such a tremendous group of people for this very special event,” said Dee Anders, CEO and Executive Director of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio. “We are so impressed with how generous the community was for this event and look forward to another successful event in 2020.”
Plans are in the works for the second annual Dean’s Charity Steer Show to take place on August 4, 2020, once again at The Ohio State Fair. Details will be announced over the next several months, including this year’s celebrities and opportunities for sponsorship. Details will be made available at go.osu.edu/deanscharitysteershow.
We wish to thank the many generous sponsors and donors who made the event such a tremendous success. Those sponsors and donors contributing $1,000 and above include the following:
• The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences
• Telhio Credit Union
• Ohio Cattlemen’s Association
• Ohio State Fair
• Heartland Bank
• Nick Epifano
• Scott McComb
• Kress Foundation at the Columbus Foundation
• Ohio Farm Bureau
• Farm Credit Mid-America
• Juan Neves
• United Producers
• City Barbeque
• Mastek Sparkman Family Foundation
• Michael, Julie and Connor Erwin
• Juan Navas
• Mike and Leslie Bumgarner
• Fayette Veterinary Hospital
• Robert Steele
• Bill Shaffer
• CFAES Meat Sciences Program
• Gibbs Farms LLC
• Bob and Pat Wise
• Ohio Pork Council
• Ohio Poultry Council
• Todd Alexander
• Leeds Farm
• Price Farms Organics
• Catherine Clark
• Dave Sanders
• Mark Berven
• Stephen Rasmussen
• Bonnie Sutherly
• David Benfield
• Mike Estadt
• Highland County Veterinary Hospital LLC
• Lynchburg Veterinary Clinic LLC
• Virgil & Lee Hamilton
• Kim Davis Insurance Agency
• Deborah Trager
• Peterson Farms
• Susa Sherer
• Greg Trimble
• Richard Theaker
• Tim and Karen Corcoran
• Putnam County Cattlemen’s Association
• Miami Valley Feed & Grain Co. Anonymous
• Wise Show Cattle Lynne Wise
• NRC Farm In Memory of Noah Cox
• AMW Cattleman’s Association
• Hastings Mutual Insurance
How did you do with those single-digit temperatures this morning? As cold as you felt – even after getting back indoors – you can imagine it’s hard to keep warm while hooked up to an IV or PICC line with cool fluids. Some of our young guests even have to travel back and forth from the hospital with those attached.
Meg Smith of Virginia had a son, Gavin, who had trouble staying warm while battling a rare disease for 12 years. When he turned 6, Meg came up with the idea to make warm, fuzzy ponchos for kids who got cold easily because of these kind of line attachments. Wearing robes, sweaters, and jackets while inside is cumbersome and impractical with these lines attached to your body. Yet, these kind of ponchos are are easier for children with chronic illness who frequent hospitals often or for many months at a time.
Here at the Ronald McDonald House in Columbus, we’re fortunate to have the support of many organizations in the Central Ohio area. One of the comments we often get from folks who participate with groups that come to the House is how much they gain by being here. Meal groups participating in our Team Cuisine program learn new cooking tips. Cleaning groups pick up household tricks for removing tough stains. Some volunteer groups learn tips about making simple household repairs from our team of volunteer craftsmen. Beyond those more obvious gains, there’s also the reminder and appreciation for what you have and just the satisfaction of giving your time. Sharing the love just feels good to the one who is sharing. But the benefits of working at the House can have even more of an impact for special needs students who regularly come to help our House.
For these students, learning even more about life at the House helps them to grow to become their full potential. Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio partners with Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities in a program called Summer Youth Work Experiences where students get real-world work experience as they help to keep our House in tip-top shape. OOD recently produced a video which follow the work of Max, one of the students that benefits from working at the Ronald McDonald House. You can watch the video here:
Sometimes, the special needs students who come to the House also leave a positive impression on our families and their child patient. Be the One is a program that was started at Walnut Ridge High School by Dawn Heideman, a teacher in the Columbus City School District, after witnessing the impact of tragedy on a student’s life. Dawn decided that she would be the one individual to provide comfort, guidance, and encouragement to students who had experienced traumatic anger, depression, & loss in hopes that those students will be the one person to go on to make a difference in another young person’s life too. The program expanded two years ago to Linden-McKinley High School and now helps 125 students who have been through traumatic life experiences at a young age.
Several times a year, Dawn brings her students here to the Ronald McDonald House to meet families of seriously ill children and to spread joy by hanging seasonal decorations in our large dining room. Last year, her students met with a patient named Orian from Maryland staying at the House. The students and Orian developed a bond after learning that he had been bullied because of his disabilities. Inspired by the Six Word Memoir project, Be the One students were encouraged to write a book of their own experiences for Orian who has been encouraged by the book every day. Read about the Be the One’s gift of the group’s book to Orian in a blog from Six Word Memoirs by clicking here.
It’s the great pumpkin delivery, Charlie Brown! Every year at this time, staff from the Marion Correctional Institution make the hour-long drive down to our Ronald McDonald House to drop off pumpkins. Today, they donated 100 pumpkins. We allow our families to take them home, if they wish, when they check out. Sometimes, they even decorate them before they go. If there are enough, sometime volunteers & staff are also welcome to take a pumpkin home. The idea for donating the pumpkins, grown by inmates at the facility, was the idea of an instructor who taught farming to the inmates. Click the image below to watch a short video about this 15th annual donation.
Columbus, OH (SEPT 25, 2019) – In just 10 days in August, 163,000 people cast 4.4 Million votes in support of their favorite causes. As a result, 40 communities, in 21 states, including Ohio, will be getting an assist from State Farm. State Farm is proud to announce the Top 40 vote-getting causes that will each receive a $25,000 grant to improve their communities.
State Farm Neighborhood Assist is a crowd-sourced philanthropic program that empowers communities to identify issues in their neighborhoods. Non-profits affiliated with each of the top 40 causes receive grants to address them.
Through this support from the State Farm Neighborhood Assist grant, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio will have the ability to provide nearly 1,250 nights of rest to families. As one of only four charities in the state receiving money through this 2019 grant program, RMHC of Central Ohio will use these funds to help make up the difference between donations offered by families who stay at the House and the actual cost to accommodate them, in a program called “Helping Hands.”
Families are asked to contribute $20 per night; however, no family is ever turned away due to inability to pay. The actual cost to provide our services is $100 per room, per night. The average amount collected from families in 2018 was $6.99 per night due to their mounting medical bills and other financial issues. In an effort to support our families and alleviate stresses induced by their child’s illness we have established the Helping Hands Program. The Helping Hands Program helps close the gap between what families are able to donate and what it actually costs by making up the difference through a temporarily restricted fund. Funds will be released from the account according to the amount of partial paid nights and “no pay” nights for families.
“Early mornings and long days in a hospital are tiring and stressful on a family with a seriously-ill child, adding the long travel time increases this stress,” said Andrea Biada, Major Gift Officer at RMHC of Central Ohio. “For these families, staying at the Ronald McDonald House while their child is receiving treatment is a necessity.”
“State Farm is here to help life go right in neighborhoods all across the country,” said Allison Bertsche, Public Affairs Director at State Farm. “We look forward to seeing the impact these Neighborhood Assist grants will have in these 40 communities.”
Two thousand cause submissions were accepted in June at www.neighborhoodassist.com. The State Farm Review Committee selected the Top 200 finalists and public voting determined the Top 40. In the eight years of the program, more than 300 causes have received a total of $8 million to enact change in their communities. For a complete list of this year’s top 40 causes, please visit: www.neighborhoodassist.com.
We’re so honored to announce that yesterday’s inaugural Dean’s Charity Steer Show raised more than $135,000 to help keep families near their children in Columbus area hospitals. Cathann A. Kress, vice president for agricultural administration and dean of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University, along with Ohio Cattlemen’s Association and Telhio Credit Union, hosted this first-ever event benefiting Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio. The show brought together our community to celebrate agriculture and support children and their families that rely on RMHC during difficult times.
The steer show included a “sale” following the same procedures as a typical livestock sale, but without the actual transfer of livestock. Instead, all buyer sale proceeds are going to benefit RMHC of Central Ohio. The show and sale featured local celebrity exhibitors who partnered with a 4-H member and their steer. The community could also make a donation toward their favorite celebrity’s fundraising page for the event. Thanks to all of the exhibitors, the 4-H families, donors, and steer buyers for making this inaugural show a huge success! Thanks, also, to all who supported and attended the event, especially Ohio Cattlemen Association members and county affiliates, OSU extension offices, the Ohio State Fair, and to auctioneers Ron Kreis, Johnny Regula, Darby Walton and Kevin Wendt.
2019 Dean’s Charity Steer Show Winners:
Best Steer: Clark Kellogg, CBS Sports analyst, with 4-H member Sydney Sanders – Highland County Best Showmanship: Bob Peterson, public servant and eighth-generation Fayette County farmer, with 4-H member Victoria Waits – Fayette County People’s Choice Award: Adam Sharp, executive vice president, Ohio Farm Bureau, with 4-H member Sam Sutherly – Miami County.
Remaining Celebrity Exhibitors:
Cathann Kress, vice president for agricultural administration and dean of The Ohio State
University CFAES, with 4-H member Wyatt Osborn – Highland County; Matt Barnes, NBC4 morning anchor, with 4-H member Caroline Winter – Pickaway County; Mark Berven, president and chief operating officer of Nationwide Property & Casualty, with 4-H member Allison Davis – Carroll County; Bobby Carpenter, sports talk host on 97.1 The Fan, with 4-H member Kyle Kardotzke – Erie County; Jay Edwards, Athens County small business owner and real estate investor, with 4-H member Austin Pullins – Athens County; Clay Hall, sports director for ABC 6/FOX 28, with 4-H member Shala Graham – Licking County; Woody Johnson, host of “Woody and the Wake-Up Call” on WCOL-FM 92.3, with 4-H member Lauren Schulte – Putnam County; Rick Malir, chief executive officer and co-founder of City Barbeque, with 4-H member Jocelyn Belleville – Wood County; Bob McElligott, sports broadcaster for the Columbus Blue Jackets, with 4-H member McKalynne Helmke – Tuscarawas County; Shelley Meyer, former first lady of Ohio State football, with 4-H member Taylor Poff – Geauga County.
Watch Ohio Ag Net & Ohio’s Country Journal’s report on the event here: