Leap Day comes once every four years like clockwork, and this year, it makes the perfect time for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Mid-Missouri’s annual Red Shoe Gala.
In April 2024, the organization is opening the new Ronald McDonald House at the corner of College Avenue and Stadium Boulevard, and the Ronald McDonald Family Room in the new Children’s Hospital and Birthing Center.
The new house will offer 31,000 square feet of finished space, providing 24 private guest rooms. With the 24 rooms filled 365 days of the year, the house accommodates a total of 8,760 nights of lodging and warm meals annually. In addition, amenities will include a workout room, outdoor gardens, walking trails, TVs in each room and more.
“In 1983, we opened our doors for the first time at the old, old Ronald McDonald House,” says Terri Gray, executive director of RMHC Mid-Missouri, “All of this year, we’ve been recognizing our 40 years of service, but we’re really going to celebrate that in February.”
The gala will include a video with the help of KOMU, showcasing the new house and Family Room, and testimonies from the 1983 RMHC Mid-Missouri founders and families who have been guests throughout the years.
“It’s an opportunity for our supporters and perspective supporters to come together for a really fun evening,” Gray says. “It’s kind of a big cocktail dinner party more than a fundraiser.”
The event is the biggest fundraiser of the year and is expected to sell out again. This year, gala attendees can expect a Wine and Whiskey Pull, the six-piece Norm Reubling Band, dinner, a live auction and a 360-degree camera, along with a backdrop for photos.
“It’s a sight to see,” says Jessi Whitehurse, director of RMHC Events. “The amount of generosity in that room when we do the paddle raise, it is mind blowing. People giving money, and they don’t get anything for it other than feeling great and helping somebody. It’s really fun to watch.”
Doors open at 6 p.m., the same time that the Wine and Whiskey Pull begins, with the dinner, live auction and live music beginning at 7 p.m. Tickets for the event start at $200 per person and include wine at each table, appetizers, entrées and desserts, all catered by Eclipse Catering and Events.