EL CENTRO â€“ More than 250 volunteers hit the streets at 16 key intersections across the Imperial Valley Wednesday morning with one goal in mind: to raise money for the Ronald McDonald House Charities through the 5th annual â€œRed Shoe Dayâ€ fundraiser.
â€œThe Ronald McDonald House once helped me and for that I am very thankful. My donation today is just a token of appreciation, but it is nowhere compared to the help I received from them for lodging, meals and hospitality,â€ said Jeanette Ramos, El Centro.
From 7:00 to 10:00 a.m., volunteers manned their stationsÂ dressed up in bright red t-shirts and clown outfits carrying a big red shoe and waving signs encouraging drivers and pedestrians to donate and create awareness of the San Diegoâ€™s Ronald McDonald House.
â€œToday my goal is to help fundraise for the children in need and their familiesâ€ said Briana Aguirre, volunteer.
Ronald McDonald House Charities is located next to Rady Childrenâ€™s Hospital and provides a â€œhome away from homeâ€ for families with children treated for serious, and often life-threatening conditions.
Last year, Imperial Valley residents raised overÂ $51,000 for the Ronald McDonald House on Red Shoe Day.
â€œItâ€™s always good to give to the community and help those in need,â€ said Victor Martinez, volunteer.
Each day, an estimated 250 family members rely on the facility for overnight stays, meals, laundry, and other amenities during their stay. The facility has a total of 47 rooms that are occupied nightly and offers and on-site school for siblings of hospitalized children.
â€œYears ago, my brother had an accident and was hospitalized at Rady. My family and I were going through rough times, we didnâ€™t have anything. We stayed at the Ronald McDonald House where they provided us with meals and a place to sleep,â€ said Martinez. â€œItâ€™s good to know programs like these exist for those in need.â€
Last year, the Ronald McDonald House provided care to 563 Imperial Valley families who usedÂ a total of 7,124 nights of lodging.Â Imperial County families make up twenty-five percent of the yearly usage of the facility.