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RMH Charities of Bluegrass head addresses Chamber

Sarah Warner addresses group about Ronald McDonald House Charities, a multi-faceted organization which provides a unique service to families of hospitalized children; Pam Hancock speaks for corporate sponsor McDonald's of Columbia, with capsule history of chain, her family's 10 area McDonald's stores
PHOTO: Sarah Warner, Donna Stotts, Pam Hancock

By Ed Waggener

Sarah Warner, Executive Director of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Bluegrass, spoke at the July 15, 2008, Columbia-Adair County Chamber of Commerce at its regular business luncheon at Cranmer Dining Center, Lindsey Wilson College, Columbia, KY.

Ms. Warner, a reident of Richmond, KY, was introduced by Pam Hancock, Columbia, KY, Director of Operations of five McDonald's owned by her father, David Branscum, Russell Springs.

McDonald's of Columbia was corporate sponsor of the event.

Capsule history McDonald's, Branscum stores

Ms. Hancock gave a capsule history of McDonald's and of the her family's McDonald's stores in Columbia and other Southeastern Kentucky towns:
In 1955 Ray Kroc opened the first McDonald's restaurant in Des Plaines, IL--he was a salesman who invested his entire life savings to become the exclusive distributor of a five-spindled milk shake maker called the Multimixer. Hearing abou the McDonald's hamburger stand in California running eight Multimixers at a time, he packed up and headed West. He was 52 years old.

.Did and Mac McDonald were brothers who had the hamburger stand that Ray went to see. He pitched the idea of opening several restaurants to them, convinced that he could sell eight of his multimixers to each of the new restaurants. "Who could we get to open them for us?" Dick McDonald asked. "Well," Krock answered, "What do about me?" And that is how McDonald's began.

McDonald's of Collumbia opened July 16, 1992, 16 years ago, tomorrow. My Father owns five McDonald's restaurants--Russell Springs, Monticello, Edmonton, Albany, and Columbia. My sister and her husband have five restaurants, three in the Corbin area, and one in Williamsburg and another in Barbourville.

I began my career as Store Manager here in Columbia eight years ago. I then supervised Columbia and Edmonton for three years and for the last five years have been the Business/Deployment Manager for all 10 stores as well as teaching ServSafe for our organization.

I am currently overseeing my Father's five stores as Director of Operations. I am also serviing as the People Team Chairperson for the Lexington Co-op, which consists of rewards and recognition of Managers in 64 restaurants in Central and Southeastern Kentucky. In July of 2007, I became an approved percentage owner, with a partial ownership of the Columbia store.
Ms. Hancock gave this introduction to Sarah Warner:
Sarah has worked as a non-profit administrator for over 15 years and was previously the Director of an inner-city public school and daycare center in downtown Cincinnati. Prior to working in education, she spent 10 years raising funds for arts organizations such as the Cincinnati Opera, Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati, WCET-TV (Cincinnati's public television station) and National Public Radio's "A Prairie Home Companion" in St. Paul, MN.

Sarah grew up in Richmond, KY, and graduated from Eastern Kentucky University with a degree in Public Relations and Theatre. She moved back to the region in June of 2005 and is thrilled to "back home." She is married to Charles Lister, who works at KET and they have a beautiful one-year-old son named Thomas Wyatt.
Scope of RMH Charities reaches beyond its icon, RMH House

Ms. Warner gave an overview of the scope of the RMH Charities of the Bluegrass, which is best known for the Ronald McDonald House, which provides living quarters and many other amenities for parents of children hospitalized in the Lexington areq.

Besides the Ronald McDonald House, the organization also operates the RM Caremobile, which provides dental and care to underserved children in Hazard area, and the Ronald McDonald Dental Van, which delivers dental care to Central Kentucky children.

Ms. Warner said that the Lexington Ronald McDonald House, in 2007, served families from 87 Kentucky Counties , 15 U.S. States, and one foreign country.

The Mission of Ronald McDonald House

The mission of RMH, MS Warner quoted, "Is to operate a home awayfrom home for children and their families who come to Lexington for medical treatment and to support health related programs and projects for Kentucky's Children."

The RMH in Lexington has room for 20 families. "With up to four persons per family," Ms. Warner said, "we can have as many as 80 guests at one time."

Guests are given assistance beyond lodging, she said. Other services include transportation to and from Lexington hospitals, meals, and even clothes. She told of one mother who came to the house without even a pair of shoes. New shoes were provided when the new parents left, she said, along with many other wardrobe items.

RMH Charities are supported by several sources, including donations from the guests, which amounts to 6% of the budget. Another 30% comes from the donation boxes beside checkout cash registers in McDonald's restaurants, and 64% comes from campaigns, from people telling the story.

How RMH Charities spends revenues

The charity delivers 71% of its receipts for actual program expenses, with 16% going for fundraising costs, she said.

Adair Drug Court Pop Tab Effort recognized

One of the big income producers is the Pop Tab program. Ms. Warner gave special thanks to the Adair County Drug Court, one of the top Pop Tab collection agencies in the state. Ellen Zornes, who volunteers with the program, was recognized for the group's efforts.

Donations to the Ronald McDonald House Charities can be made at McDonald's of Columbia, or can be mailed to Ronald McDonald House Charities, PO box 22414, Lexington, KY 40522. The phone number is (859) 268-0757. email To access the website, Click Here

Norma Scott recognized

Pam Hancock recognized the work of Norma Scott of Columbia, who raised over $6,000 for Ronald McDonald Charities in a fund raiser at Trinity United Methodist Church.

Next meeting August 19, 2008, at CUMC

The next meeting of the Chamber will be Tuesday, August 19, 2008, at the Columbia United Methodist Church. Eric Churchill will speak. His topic will be another children's charity very dear to Columbia and Adair County, Kosair Charities of Louisville. The meeting time is 11:45am. Phone (270) 384-6020 for details.

This story was posted on 2008-07-16 10:01:05
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Sarah Warner speaks for Ronald McDonald House

2008-07-16 - Lindsey Wilson College, Columbia, KY - Photo By Ed Waggener.
Sarah Warner, left, Executive Director of the Ronald McDonald Charities of the Bluegrass, addressed the Columbia-Adair County Chamber of Commerce Tuesday, July 15, 2008. She was introduced by Pam Hancock, a co-owner of McDonald's of Columbia and Director of Operations for five McDonald's stores owned by her father, David Branscum. With them, center, is Columbia-Adair County Chamber of Commerce President Donna Stotts.

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