Groundbreaking ceremonies for the Lubbock Ronald McDonald House were held on September 14, 1985, in a driving rain! But the weather did not dampen the spirits of 150 people gathered to celebrate the realization of a dream. The Goin’ Band from Raiderland entertained throughout the ceremonies, keeping spirits high in the midst of cloudy skies.
Lubbock’s Ronald McDonald House was initiated and developed by the Community Research Committee of the Junior League of Lubbock. In early 1981, research began to support the need for such a facility in Lubbock. And in 1983 the League facilitatied the formation of a nonprofit corporation, Family House, Inc., to own and operate the House. That same year the League committed $125,000 to construction of the House.
Financial and volunteer support for the project have continued through the years. In celebration of the League’s fiftieth anniversary, one-half of the profits from Holiday Happening 1985 were set aside to establish an endowment fund for the House; and on April 9, 1987, a check for $96,000 was presented to the Lubbock Area Foundation to fund The Junior League of Lubbock Ronald McDonald House Endowment Fund. Interest from this fund is distributed annually to Family House, Inc. to support the continuing operation of “The House that Love Built.” Several Junior League members (and their husbands) served on the initial board of directors – either as representatives of the League or as community members. And dozens of League members were involved in community fundraising activities and on working committees. Volunteer commitment continues today with League members serving as House volunteers. The Junior League’s tradition of continuing support to its projects is certainly evident at the Ronald McDonald House.
Community support for the largest Junior League project ever (at that time) was overwhelming. Just a sample: Lee Lewis Construction contributed the services of a full-time project supervisor. Texas Tech leased one acre of ground to the House for $10. A two-month capital campaign drive in 1985 raised $318,787 in cash and pledges for construction – and virtually 100% of the amount was collected! Fifteen individuals, organizations and companies made gifts of $15,000 to sponsor individual rooms in the House. Tech students had Fun Runs, sold Valentine Balloons and Baskets, sponsored dances and “spook houses”, waited tables and took a dip in the dunking booth to raise money for kids. Lubbock and area school students had garage sales, delivered flowers and sold candy, contributed profits from a school talent show, and sent money to the House in lieu of Christmas gifts to each other! The Junior League’s vision for a Ronald McDonald House to service families of seriously ill children captured the collective hearts of the South Plains.
The total project cost was more the $1,000,000 – one-third of the total was in-kind contribution of materials, labor and supplies. When the Lubbock Ronald McDonald House opened in March 1988 it was DEBT FREE thanks in great measure to the leadership and commitment of the Junior League of Lubbock.
During 2004, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Lubbock and Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Permian Basin joined together and became Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Southwest (RMHC). The primary areas of service include West Texas, the Permian Basin and Eastern New Mexico, although families across the country are served as well.
Click here for more information on Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Southwest.