Volunteers take to streets for Ronald McDonald Red Shoe Day
Janet Vasquez uses a red shoe to collect donations from motorists during Ronald McDonald House's Red Shoe Day at Main and Eighth streets Wednesday in El Centro. Imperial Valley crew committee member Elia Fuentez said other volunteers also collected donations in Brawley, Imperial, Holtville and Calexico. (JOSELITO VILLERO PHOTO / May 16, 2012)
Having at first settled in a Del Mar hotel 30 minutes away, Plourd said she eventually would stay at the nearby Ronald McDonald House for more than three weeks.
“It’s a very comforting and relaxing environment,” the El Centro resident said. “It would have been very difficult not having a place to shower and relax for some peace of mind.”
Her family’s stay also prompted her to become something of an informal booster, pushing her to remind all of her friends of the significance of Red Shoe Day in the Valley.
“It’s a great cause to donate to,” Plourd said, referring to the yearly event where volunteers take to the street to seek donations from the public on behalf of Ronald McDonald House Charities. “There’s a huge need for it.”
About 25 percent of the families visiting San Diego’s Ronald McDonald House are from the Valley, said Chuck Day, president and chief executive officer of Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego Inc.
Last year about 425 local families spent a total of 2,798 nights at the house, he said.
Additionally, the charity’s local committee was able to raise about $33,000 on Red Shoe Day last year, the first time it was held in the Valley, Day said. The organization had initially set a goal of $10,000.
“The time put in by the volunteers is absolutely amazing,” Day said as the first of the more than 200 volunteers distributed among 13 intersections throughout the Valley began to trickle into a staging area that was set up at El Centro Regional Medical Center.
Organizers said that they expected this year’s Red Shoe Day donations to surpass last year’s tally. Corporate underwriters and sponsors from the Valley have already chipped in about $10,000, Day said.
“Red Shoe Day in Imperial Valley never quite starts and never quite ends,” he said, referring to past, present and future fundraising efforts.
Along with a half-dozen volunteers at the intersection of Eighth and Main streets in El Centro, 19-year-old Carolina German spent three hours of her morning waving posters adorned with the signature heart of the Ronald McDonald House and collecting cash from passing motorists.
Although she had planned on volunteering for last year’s Red Shoe Day, German wasn’t able to do so until this year.
The El Centro resident said her love of volunteering and her familiarity with a family who benefitted from a stay at the House compelled her to join the fundraising effort.
“Anything that has to do with kids, I’m in,” German said.
Staff Writer, Copy Editor Julio Morales can be reached at 760-335-4665 or at email@example.com
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