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Ronald McDonald House to benefit from ChiliFest

On September 12, 2013

The 30th annual ChiliFest will benefit the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Tri-state, Inc. The festival begins at 11 a.m. Saturday, in downtown Huntington.

Chili sample tickets can be purchased at the festival to vote for the fan favorite of the cook-off competition. Tickets are $1 each or $5 for six. All of the proceeds from the tickets will go to the Ronald McDonald House in Huntington.

Chilifest, sponsored by Chili Willi’s and WSAZ-TV, has raised more than $500,000 for the Ronald McDonald House throughout the years.

The Ronald McDonald House is a home away from home that provides families of seriously ill children a place to stay while their child is in the hospital.

Margaret Wilson, executive director of the Ronald McDonald House of the Tri-State, Inc., explained the impact ChiliFest has on the organization.

“It is our largest fundraiser for the Ronald McDonald House,” Wilson said. “Any charity could have been the choice, but it has allowed us to benefit.”

The Ronald McDonald House will also be raffling off a 2013 Toyota Camry courtesy of Advantage Toyota at ChiliFest. Tickets cost $10 and the winner will be announced at 5:30 p.m.

Cathy Conaway, volunteer coordinator, said Marshall University is getting involved with the Ronald McDonald House during ChiliFest with Alpha Xi Delta, Alpha Sigma Phi and the American Medical Women’s Association selling tickets and serving chili.

Alpha Sigma Phi made a pledge to try and raise $2,000 for the House.

Marshall Pediatrics also gets involved by hosting a free Kids Korner at Ninth Street and Pullman Square between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. There will be inflatables, face painting and lessons about healthful eating. Children will be able to have their picture taken with Ronald McDonald.

The Ronald McDonald House of the Tri-State, Inc. welcomes families with children ranging in ages from newborn through 22-years-old into the home free of charge for as long as the children are receiving care through any of the tri-state hospitals.

The Ronald McDonald House in Huntington can accommodate up to 20 families with four people in each room at a time. Wilson explained that the rooms available for families to stay in are the estimated equivalent of paying $79 per night for a hotel room.

According to Wilson, it costs about $610,00 a year to keep the house running, but only an estimated 40 percent of this cost is provided through Ronald McDonald canister money, the donations that are made by customers at McDonald’s restaurants.

The remaining 60 percent of required costs to maintain the House is made up of donations, fundraising and guest support.

Katy Lewis can be contacted at

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