Raffles van Exel, a music producer and promoter, became emotional after he was asked the question.
If you could make one wish for the people of the Ronald McDonald House, what would it be?
“Wow,” was all van Exel could say at first as he was speaking with Brenda Escoto, a marketing manager for the Ronald McDonald House, which provides a home-style place to stay for families whose children are in the hospital.
“That we can be here again next year,” van Exel said at the Bakersfield Ronald McDonald House.
He was there to promote a song, “Why Oh Why,” which is about social change and features CeeLo Green and rapper French Montana, among other artists.
“It’s a labor of love,” said van Exel, a producer of the song.
He could definitely feel the love in the room at the Ronald McDonald House in Bakersfield on the Memorial Hospital campus, where Evan Sloan, 20, received gifts and apparel from van Exel.
Sloan and his family have been a part of the Ronald McDonald House since Sloan was a baby. He has dealt with heart issues, as well as seizures and migraines, among other maladies. His mother, Christina, and father, Quincy, a firefighter, were not aware of the Ronald McDonald House when Evan was a newborn and spent a lot of money on hotel stays before discovering the charitable organization.
“All these people here, I love them so much,” Evan Sloan said. “They have such joy and they have amazing hearts. The Ronald McDonald House means a lot to me so definitely each one of these people are joyful to me and they mean a lot to me.”
Representatives from local radio stations, van Exel and Ronald McDonald House staff helped pick out gifts and toys from a few stores for children of the organization.
Evan Sloan grabbed gifts out of a bag that included cosmetology tools. He has been aspiring to be a hairstylist since he was 3, he said.
He shared hugs with van Exel and others, including Leilani Shiu, an actress known for her work on "Obi-Wan Kenobi" (2022), "The Book of Boba Fett" (2021) and "The Mandalorian" (2019).
She was there to help support the song "Why Oh Why," which was played on local radio stations, Shiu said.
The song begins with children singing in unison: "Why oh why can't we get together? Why oh why must we fight forever? Let's give peace a chance."
The song also features Fantasia, Kenny Lattimore and Emily Estefan. Producers also include Narada Michael Walden and Emilio Estefan.
They are a part of Artists for Global Unity (artistsforglobalunity.com), which includes the children singing in unison.
Van Exel said the project wasn't created to make money for the artists or producers. They are helping raise money for Ronald McDonald House and Doctors Without Borders, among other charities, van Exel said.