Home Away from Home: Ronald McDonald House of Durham

Home Away from Home: Ronald McDonald House of Durham

RMHLOGOFor 34 years, the Ronald McDonald House of Durham has been providing a home away from home for families with seriously ill children. Their vision is to offer love, share comfort, inspire community and sustain hope by giving families a place to stay when their child is being treated in a nearby hospital.

Accommodating Families in Need

When a family travels more than 50 miles from home to obtain treatment for their child, they are eligible to stay at the House. For a suggested $10-15 per night, a family can stay in a bedroom with amenities similar to a hotel room, but families are never turned away for their inability to pay.

Bedroom in the Ronald McDonald HouseAll families have access to a fully equipped communal kitchen, dining area, living room and laundry facility. There is also a chapel, learning center, computer room and library on site. Having these resources is important in meeting the needs of a family who has to spend several weeks or months away from home.

The Ronald McDonald House also sponsors family rooms at Duke University Hospital and WakeMed Children’s Hospital so families can get away to relax, have a meal or check email without having to leave the hospital grounds.

The Ronald McDonald House of Durham anticipates hosting more than 1,300 families in the house and 40,000 visits to the family rooms in the coming year. They rely on the support of the community and volunteers to help meet the needs of these families.

Holly Hutchinson, community outreach manager for the Ronald McDonald House of Durham, explains:

Volunteers provide a clean place to relax, activity nights, and home cooked meals.

Hutchinson estimates that they have 4,200 volunteers at the house and 200 at the family rooms each year. The duties assigned to volunteers, such as cleaning, hosting game nights and preparing meals, are important in carrying out the mission of the Ronald McDonald House.

Volunteers Offer Comfort through Food

Families who stay in the house often do not have time to prepare meals when they are caring for a sick child. The Taste of Home program gives volunteers a chance to provide this comfort of home to residents by providing them with a hot, home-cooked meal.

Activate Good Triangle Volunteers Serving a MealWhen Marissa Sheldon found out about the need to prepare meals for the families staying at the house, she offered to lead a group of Activate Good volunteers to do just that. She knew she wanted to do something to help people who do not have the time or money to cook for themselves. Sheldon comments:

I’m happy that I have the chance to combine two of my biggest passions – cooking and volunteering – while meeting other volunteers and talking with some of the families at the house.  

Now, the group visits the Ronald McDonald House once a month to prepare and serve dinner. Find out more about the Ronald McDonald House and how you can help at their Activate Good profile. You can also “like” them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter.

About Activate Good

Activate Good is a nonprofit volunteer center that activates volunteers to help charitable causes in our local community. We connect individuals, groups, and companies to volunteering needs with over 200 partnering nonprofits around the Triangle. Learn more and get involved at www.activategood.org. You can also follow us on Twitter @ActivateGood, or Become a Fan on Facebook!