“It’s my favorite time of the year” smiled Marshfield’s TJ Slocum, a 16 year fund raiser for the Ronald McDonald House Programs. “It’s all for a good cause.”
The 30th annual Share a Heart Campaign is underway, and “Share a Heart Champion” TJ is back in action, selling the small red hearts. With the help of his parents, Randy and Debbie Slocum, TJ has adopted the campaign as his personal mission or giving back to the organization.
The Share a Heart Campaign is the non-profit’s largest source of funding for Springfield’s Ronald McDonald House. The location near Cox South Hospital opened nearly 34 years ago and the House at Mercy Kids has been assisting families during their time of need for over a decade now. Together, the locations have served over 15,000 families, including 550 families in Webster County.
TJ’s passion for the project is what has turned McTJ night into an annual holiday for many in Webster County. The event encourages customers to support the organization which in turn directly supports hundreds of families in Webster County. This year’s event is Thursday, Feb. 16 from 3-8 p.m. Residents and customers are asked to donate to the cause or support by purchasing a heart for $1, $5 or $20, with 20% of the evening’s profits directly benefitting the program.
In addition to this, TJ raises funds by traveling business to business in support of the campaign. This is the first year since the COVID pandemic that TJ has been able to visit businesses to ask for their support. The Marshfield High School graduate travels to surrounding towns and asks for donations for the campaign for two big reasons.
TJ himself has had 15 operations over the course of his life. According to his father, Randy Slocum, “The Ronald McDonald House has helped us out tremendously over he years and we really believe in giving back to them.”
“It’s more of a home away from home and a place for people to go where they don’t have to worry about things like housing while their child is in the hospital,” he added. “We have raised over six figures in the last 15 years of the sell a heart campaign.”
With an amazing $144,441 raised in the past 15 campaigns, TJ aims to surpass his goal of $10,000 this year.
This year, the dine-in option is available in addition to supporting the campaign through the drive-through. There will also be cookies for sale outside the drive-through, which will include a certificate redeemable for a bakers dozen cookies.
To support TJ’s efforts, the public can contribute by visiting the Marshfield McDonalds on McTJ night from 3-8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 16.
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