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Despite unrest in Chicago, 'No one is going to go hungry' at Ronald McDonald House

House near Lurie's was not shot, staff and food was on-site that night

The door at the Ronald McDonald House near the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago is boarded up following damage due to unrest in the city.
The door at the Ronald McDonald House near the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago is boarded up following damage due to unrest in the city.

A photo circulating on social media that shows an apparent bullet hole in the door of a Ronald McDonald House in Chicago is actually not a bullet hole at all.

Lisa Mitchell, vice president of programs and services for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana, said she watched the surveillance video and said someone walked past the house and intentionally struck the window with some type of metal object.

As scary as it sounded to the 30 families staying at the house on Sunday night, only the first window was broken, not the second one behind it, Mitchell said.

But from its appearance, Mitchell said she understood how people might think it was a bullet hole - although updated knowledge certainly doesn't diminish the emotional strain of Sunday night, especially for families who are already stressed.

"It was a lot for our staff and families on-site that night," Mitchell said.

One of the families at Ronald McDonald House Sunday and into Monday was Owen Buell's family.

Owen of Joliet had received the first of two stem cell transplants on July 8 and was staying at that particular Ronald McDonald House with his parents Brian Buell and Valerie Mitchell.

His discharge on Monday was delayed due to the unrest, which was disappointing for his family because it was his second birthday.

Since February, Owen has battled neuroblastoma, a type of cancer most often occurring in kids age 5. But he finally made it home to his party before the derecho hit Will County.

His great-grandmother Jackie Moore of Florida was concerned the unrest would prevent volunteers from bringing food to the Ronald McDonald House.

But Lisa Mitchell said that house is staffed with an executive chef and an assistant chef, and they ensure families receive healthy meals every day.

Lisa Mitchell said the house is also stocked with basic foods, such as chicken, milk and cereal, microwavable meals, pasta, macaroni and cheese and more, thanks to community partners.

"No one is going to go hungry," Lisa Mitchell said.

The house also has security working at night. Other staff are also on-site day and night, she said.

If a situation like the unrest had continued longer than a day, families may have been evacuated, Lisa Mitchell said.

"There is no way that any family should have to go through what these families are going through," Lisa Mitchell said. "It's heartbreaking that kids are sick. And we want to make sure we are supporting them in any way we can."

Donate to Owen through GoFundMe at bit.ly/2S7sPN7.

Donate to Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana at rmhccni.org.

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