Families are moving into Columbia??s new Ronald McDonald House for the first time.
The building is a home away from home for families with sick children.
Tammy Laughling has worked at Columbia??s old Ronald McDonald house for 10 years. She said the final move out of the 30 year old building was bittersweet.
Laughling said, ??We??ve had a lot of ups and downs with this house. We??ve had some maintenance issues. It??s so exciting to move to our new house.??
Kevin and Emily Powell first stayed at the Columbia location after the premature birth of their son, Oliver. Oliver is now a healthy 2-year-old, but the Powells found themselves back at the Ronald McDonald house 2 weeks ago when their twins Brooks and Meredith were born at 28 weeks.
Kevin Powell said, ??We are going to be able to stay here with 2 beds, our own bathroom and with a lot more privacy when you are definitely going through a tough time.??
Emily Powell said that since they are commuting from Kirksville, staying at the new house is one less thing to worry about as a family. Having home cooked meals means a lot, too.
Parker Eimers, 10, of Columbia saved his money for a year and donated $100 to the Ronald McDonald House to help families like the Powells.
Eimers said, ??If I were in the hospital, I??d be scared to death if I didn??t have my mom and dad right next to me.??
The new Ronald McDonald House can hold twice as many families. It??s within walking distance to newborn and pediatric care for families like the Powells to use during tough times.House officials are still accepting donations to help pay for their new building near University Children??s Hospital.