Friends, family, charity surprise foster parents with a 12-passenger van

Left photo L-R: Wade Family Foundation Executive Director Monty Magleby, Ryan and Tiffany McDonald; Right photo L-R: Maliyah McBride, Tiffany McDonald. The McDonalds are surprised with donation of a van to help them with their foster family. Switchpoint Community Resource Center, St. George, Utah, Jan. 23, 2015 | Photo by Candice McMahon, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – Good news came in the form of a 12-passenger van given to foster parents Ryan and Tiffany McDonald of St. George Friday, who until now have had to use several cars simultaneously to meet the transportation needs of their family.

The McDonalds have been fostering children in their home for over 10 years. Currently, they have 11 children, eight who still live at home. Two of their children currently are foster children, and the rest are either biological or have been adopted by the McDonalds as their own through the Foster Care Foundation.

“It took four cars just to get over here,” Tiffany McDonald said.

L-R: Maliyah McBride, Tiffany McDonald. Foster parent Tiffany McDonald's first reaction to the surprise donation of a van to help her family. Switchpoint Community Resource Center, St. George, Utah, Jan. 23, 2015 | Photo by Candice McMahon, St. George News
L-R: Maliyah McBride, Tiffany McDonald. Foster parent Tiffany McDonald’s first reaction to the gift of a van

“We love all these people coming together and want to honor a great couple and great family. We honor and celebrate the good people you are and what you do,” Stephen W. Wade Family Foundation Executive Director Monty Magleby said to the McDonalds as the van was presented to them.

“And so, in behalf of SwitchPoint, Wade Family Foundation, Todd Stirling and his family, Scott Smith and a lot of people that volunteered their time to prepare, clean, fix and such,” Magleby said, “we would like to present you with this van. We hope it will be a great blessing to your family.”

Ryan McDonald’s job requires that he be away from home a lot, Tiffany McDonald said, so the van is the answer to her prayers when he is absent.

She swore as a teen that she would never own a van, Tiffany McDonald said, it wasn’t a “cool car.” But her viewpoint has changed.

Recently, Tiffany McDonald has been spotted taking selfies in front of random vans because that is all she has been dreaming about, her brother-in-law Andrew Smart said.

She wanted everyone to know how much she desired such a vehicle for her family, Tiffany McDonald said. Now she can stop with the selfies and enjoy her day-to-day family life in their new van.

How the gift came to be 

Switchpoint Community Resource Center, along with the Stephen W. Wade Family Foundation, physician assistant Scott Smith, Todd Stirling, Jessica Smart and Karen Brennan have been planning the surprise for weeks.

L-R: Tiffany McDonald with her sister Jessica Smart.  Smart helped in the project to provide a van for the McDonald family. Switchpoint Community Resource Center, St. George, Utah, Jan. 23, 2015 | Photo by Candice McMahon, St. George News
L-R: Tiffany McDonald with her sister Jessica Smart. Smart helped in the project to provide a van for the McDonald family.

Tiffany McDonald’s sister Jessica Smart asked for assistance from family friend Scott Smith, who contacted Tyler Wade, president of the Wade Family Foundation, about finding a van for the McDonalds.

Among its charity efforts, the Wade Family Foundation gives cars away to families and people in need. In five years, Wade estimated the Wade Family Foundation has donated 25 or more cars.

Wade agreed to help the McDonalds and began looking for a van. During the search, Stirling unexpectedly stepped forward with a 2002 Chevy Express 12-passenger van that he wanted to donate to the foundation. The van was perfect for the McDonalds.

After spending time getting the van into driving condition, the date was set for the surprise. Friday at 3 p.m., family and friends gathered in the parking lot of Switchpoint, 948 N. 1300 West in St. George, to present the McDonalds with the van.

“Well it took a lot in getting her here without her knowing about it,” Jessica Smart said. “You wouldn’t know what we went through. I don’t think we have ever pulled off a surprise for this girl in her life. She planned her own surprise party.”

Spreading the love the McDonalds way

Being a foster parent is only one of the many worthy things they do. The McDonalds serve their community by being mentors to many children, not just the children in their home. They have a desire to serve and spread love, they said.

With this van, the McDonalds will be able to focus more on family and a nonprofit foundation, Munchkins and Miracles or Foster Love 4 Kids, they are organizing. The main focus of the McDonalds’ foundation is foster children, teens who have slipped through the cracks and families in crisis.

Some of the activities Munchkins or Foster Love will undertake include service projects, raising money for specific families or people in need, skill building, a teen goal-setting and rewards program, emotional release and holistic healing, motivational fitness and wellness camp, dance camp, theater and music camp, college funding and grants, a wishing dream pot for specific deserving families and a recording studio for singer-song writers to enhance their talents and dreams.

“The goal is to build and fortify a better community by helping individual children meet their needs, learn passion and talents and understand their purpose in life,” Tiffany McDonald said.

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32 Comments

  • darnit January 24, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    These are people who really care about children and the sanctity of life; well deserving of any help we/the community can give them. Maybe the protestors in front of Planned Parenthood could spend their time more wisely by helping the children who are already here and needing homes rather than protesting a woman’s rights to choose. Ever heard of Free Agency?

    • Roy J January 24, 2015 at 2:38 pm

      DARNIT, maybe those people outside of Planned Parenthood do that also, how would you know?

    • ladybugavenger January 24, 2015 at 11:00 pm

      Free agency? Like a department? Oh ya, that’s a Mormon thing…..the Bible calls it, free will.

      • darnit January 25, 2015 at 10:31 am

        yep

      • Aliceyn January 26, 2015 at 6:45 am

        Ladybugavenger, please tell us where in the bible it is called free will. Thanks…

    • ladybugavenger January 25, 2015 at 9:41 am

      There is a whole page dedicated to people exercising their free will, it is called, Washington county bookings.

  • laytonian January 24, 2015 at 1:19 pm

    Really? A 2002 van?
    Wow…like THAT’S a big deal. I hope Wade is going to do all the maintenance on that thing, because there’s nothing worse for poor people than an old, beat-up car.

  • One for the road January 24, 2015 at 1:38 pm

    It doesn’t sound like you have heard of free agency . those people out there protesting have as much right to their opinion as you do coming in here shooting your mouth off

    • darnit January 25, 2015 at 10:34 am

      Yes, you have the right to “shoot your mouth off” just as much as I do. And women have the right to make their own choices without being judged by you.

      • Free Parkimg January 26, 2015 at 4:20 am

        That right people have the right to shoot their mouths off without being judged by an idiot like yourself

  • villager January 24, 2015 at 2:09 pm

    Don’t let you left hand know what your right hand gives.
    That’s for The Wade Foundation.

    Charity makes good advertising.

    Hooray! for the Mc Donald Family for taking in all those kids…..

  • Syblonca Hussenlik January 24, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    Do people get paid for being foster parents? Ever notice on comedian comlition shows, sings competitions, or most artsie shows they always highlight the deprived children raised in foster homes. I’m sure when their families told these children they were going to McDonald’s just before they were abandoned these children were excited. I’m glad to see McDonald’s are great foster parents fostering children correctly.

    • Bunny2015 January 24, 2015 at 4:03 pm

      yes, state government pays foster care expenses…

      • One for the road January 25, 2015 at 4:36 am

        The state doesn’t pay for anything the tax payer pays for everything

    • Smilingisalwaysbetterthannot January 24, 2015 at 8:48 pm

      I believe that the reason those shows focus so much on awseome talent from such a hard background is because it’s inspiring to everyone who is struggling in some way, that’s pretty much all of us! Everyone has a story and everyone loves a good story! I think that’s waht we are here for, to inspire each other! A lot of people need to see that you can make something out of yourself no matter where you came from if you find and practice your talents and believe in yourself!:)
      Foster Care pays for a child’s basic needs and medical. We try as foster parents to help families and children make the best out of hard times in their lives.

  • Ivinsnotkewl January 24, 2015 at 4:47 pm

    I think it’s funny how they have to say they are from St.George as if that is where they live.

  • Booya$$$ January 25, 2015 at 1:57 am

    The state pays all medical for foster children. Back in 2002 I had a co worker who made a business out of foster children. He and his wife took older ones who needed less care. I believe he said it was $800 per child per month. So if these people can’t figure out how to make that type of income work with 10-12 children at a time, they probably need someone to donate a finance class as well.

    • La January 25, 2015 at 10:37 am

      Might want to reread the article. They’re only fostering two. The rest are biological or have become their own through adoption.

      • Smilingisalwaysbetterthannot January 25, 2015 at 5:04 pm

        Thank you:)

    • Smilingisalwaysbetterthannot January 25, 2015 at 5:04 pm

      I can tell you that the state does pay all medical for the children in state care., luckily even after adoption. They also pay about 15$ per day per child. I certainly don’t do it for the money. I hope that people don’t do it for the money that is sad. I think that part of the reason even some of the kids in care don’t feel like they are loved or belong is because of this sad misinterpretation or judgment put on Foster Families. I know that other agencies do pay more for proctor care.
      I will also say that yes, we do have a lot of kids, TWO of them are in the Foster Care System., we are paid 15$ per day for their needs.. This meets a few of their needs…. Now over the past 10 years we have managed somehow, the older kids in our home never went without and have grown to be amazing citizens in our community. Their stories are inspiring . A few “bonus” kids have fallen into our world, we try to support them as best we can and have made them a part of our family because no one else stepped up… So we did… we get no money or help for them, some have no insurance even ..but we love them and have been extremely blessed as they are a huge asset to our family. I hurt for them, I feel sorrow for the parents who have chosen others things they feel are more important than the relationship with their own child. ( not all are here because of these circumstances, some parents are just lost themselves, or mentally ill, or have passed away also) but I know they are missing out, and I sometimes feel guilty that I’m the one who gets to help them up when they fall, hug them when they need a hug, or listen to the things they have to talk about! Im certainly not perfect, but I’m better thn nothing! It’s the most incredible feeling to watch them go from broken and lost, with a distorted sense of direction, to excitement as they feel love and find a purpose in life. I sure hope and pray they become more successful than us in every way !! That’s why we do this.. To help break a cycle and hope we can change the world a little bit for a child. Because statistics say that every living child grows into an adult and if we can help them, hopefully their relationships with people that come into their lives will be a little better.. Then our world will be just a little bit better:) If I have to sacrifice a little to do continue to do this , then I certainly will….My husband has a great job and we do our best, it does get hard financially when unexpected things happen that are beyond our control… But I’m so grateful when miracles come through like this, and let us know that despite all of those who judge us, or think they know how things could be so much better if we weren’t so stupid with our money or what have you .. Things like this happen.. and give me a little more hope for tomorrow! Trust me, I have moments I question myself, it gets hard and I want to give up because that would be easier..
      I will also be the first to admit that I mess up! I’m sure I could do so many things better than I do and I’m certainly opent to suggestions…
      We are in the process of starting a non profit organization to be able to continue to help the lost kids who come to us because they have no where else to go, because I’ll agree with you on the fact that my home is too small, my funds are too tight and Its clearly not possible on our own.. I want to be able to also help more families that do what we do becasue I know how hard it is! So THANK YOU to everyone who truly cares about the future of these kids!There are a lot of them who are lacking, and I will continue to do as much as I can and I will certainly reach out for these kids because they deserve it, they need good people to help them see they deserve it because really they ARE our future, and when I’m sitting in a rest home one day, I want to feel a little better about the world and how I’m leaving it. Thanks Tiffany ( a grateful mom that now drives a big blue van with a lot of cool little people)

      • Rachelmomof6 January 26, 2015 at 9:14 am

        Awesome Job! If only more people were like you! I have done foster care and if you treat the children as you do your own biological children the cost certainly are greater than the small amount that is reimbursed by “the state” I am so happy you were able to get that van. The people that have made unkind and judgmental comments are ignorant to what it takes to do what you do! You have made each of them part of your family and that is so awesome, what a blessing you are to them. For the people that say taxpayers pay for it, yes, in some cases that is true but their bio parents wages in most case are garnished to pay for their kids being in foster care.
        Honestly, I am a mother of 6 and like I said we did foster care for years. It is the hardest thing ever. To be able to love the children and then have them put back with unfit parents, or have them blame the foster parent for being in care. It truly takes a special, loving, caring, and dedicated individual to do. So I applaud you Tiffany. I say shame on you people that have been so rude, I don’t hear what you are doing to make this world a better place.
        “Acts 20:35 – I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.” These people may have gotten a van but they are GIVING so much more!

      • Joelle Whitney January 26, 2015 at 2:26 pm

        Tiffany, you guys are amazing! I don’t see any of these other negative commenters stepping up and doing all you and your famil do for these children. Don’t listen to any of the negativity, what you guys are doing is incredible and these children will be forever grateful

        • CK Stratford January 29, 2015 at 3:54 pm

          This is a cool article, glad to have stumbled upon it too. …though a little off topic, do I know you @Joelle Whitney?

  • One for the road January 25, 2015 at 7:24 pm

    I laugh when people say. the state pays for it LOL. the taxpayers pay for everything the state uses tax payers money LOL the state doesn’t print its own money

    • Smilingisalwaysbetterthannot January 25, 2015 at 9:07 pm

      I hope we are all on the same page when we say “The Sate” that EVERYONE KNOWS it’s all of US who pay taxes that then go to the state who disperses small amounts twards children in state care….just to clarify , that’s what I mean when I say “The State” ..we all know where the money comes from 🙂 thanks everyone for paying taxes and contributing to the community.

      • Free Parkimg January 26, 2015 at 4:21 am

        It doesn’t sound like you do

    • Anon January 26, 2015 at 10:53 am

      Actually, the state attempts to reimburse the fund by having the birth parents pay child support. However, even if that were not the case, I would have no qualms whatsoever if my tax money went to provide for the innocent children in foster care whose parents are dealing with issues.

  • stgeorge January 25, 2015 at 10:30 pm

    Those children are our future and the sooner we invest more time and energy toward them, the greater place we’ll be. It’s not everyone’s job or responsibility to personally take a child in need into our homes, but I thank God there are those that do. I believe the reward goes far beyond any financial support they may receive. I’d like to believe it’s selflessness and the ability to do honest true goodness because you want to make a difference that this world needs. So to the McDonald family, Thank you, because honestly you have strength that far surpasses many. You deserve it! !

  • Sierra McDonald January 25, 2015 at 10:46 pm

    this is my family!!!! And they are the most amazing people by far! They aren’t poor, but they aren’t the richest either! They still have to work there butts of for these kids! And always will!! Quit being so ignorant and think of others besides yourselves!! I am so proud of how far they have come! And how beautiful this family is! I love you Tiffany and Ryan!! Thanks for being the best example to everyone❤️❤️ everyone looks up to you both!!

  • Fosteringourfuture January 27, 2015 at 2:53 pm

    I have seen so many foster parents do so many wonderful things for children in our community. We need more people to step up and help out. People who are committed to doing it for the right reason, like Tiffany and Ryan. I can tell that they give their full heart to caring and providing. I’m so happy that in all the ways they have likely inconvenienced their lives by serving this community as foster parents, they were given an opportunity to be given back receiving this van and making life a little bit easier.

  • Roe January 27, 2015 at 3:26 pm

    Haha well I can tell you this. Before I was in Ryan and Tiffany’s home I was placed in a home that did it for the money and they were very abusive. Ryan and Tiffany had to work so hard to gain my trust because I was very hurt. Yes they got money every month but I had a roof and cloths. Pretty much what ever I needed I even had a phone. But the best of all love, guidance, and parents who wanted me to succeed in life. They even helped me buy a car. So the dumb person who comment and said they made a career out of it. Makes me laugh. That’s a awful thing to say. But I am glad I didn’t have them as foster parents. I call my parents mom and dad because they didn’t just do it for the money. They did it for me:) and just so you know they aren’t the richest people in the world but they do foster care because they love kids. Comment when you can actually say you have done Froster teens then see how hard it is.

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