A Home Away From Home for Families Fighting Cancer

Ronald McDonald House began in 1978 to help the families of sick children. The goal was to provide a place where the families could live while their child, or children, received treatment at area hospitals. More than 30,000 people, who arrived in fear and confusion, found hope, caring staff members and the ability to function and remain a family. Ronald McDonald House is much more a place to stay.

The organization provides transportation to and from New York for families that need its help. There are full-time tutors on staff that can provide first-rate education for both the sick children and their siblings. Ronald McDonald House also gives its inhabitants the opportunity to visit museums, attend musical and theater performances and go to sporting events throughout the tri-state area. Budding musicians can take lessons in their chosen instrument, including voice, and artists-to-be can get instruction too. Ronald McDonald House also throws birthday parties, various holiday celebrations and other camaraderie-building events designed for both children and parents.

The organization also makes psychological help available for everyone involved, whether it’s clinical psychiatry or just someone to talk to when the burden seems overwhelming. Several different faiths maintain ministry partnerships with Ronald McDonald House to provide spiritual guidance and regular worship opportunities for those who desire it. All of this is available to families for a mere $35 a day, which is roughly 12 percent of what it costs to house a family for a day.

The charity operates as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and it has been recognized in the past as one of the top charities in the United States. Charity Navigator, for example, awards it four out of four stars. In fact, nearly 90 percent of all donated funds go toward operations, with only 1.7 percent going to administration. Despite Ronald McDonald House’s numerous fundraising activities, they only account for 9.1 percent of incoming funds. The organization only spends $0.09 to raise $1 of donations, which is among the most efficient programs in the country.

Donors can help in many ways. Here are a few:

  • Frequent fliers can donate their collected miles.
  • People of little means can “share a night,” and defray the $35 cost for one family for one night.
  • Car owners who are upgrading can donate their car.
  • Anyone can donate nonperishable food items and clothing.
  • Anyone can collect pop tabs from soda cans, which will not only help raise funds but also contribute to a greener planet for everyone.

Donors could also attend and support any one of a dozen major fundraising events, such as masquerade balls, Skate With the Greats, which involves former New York Rangers from the NHL, large-scale fun runs, golf tournaments and much more. Well-to-do people, or any business, looking for a bigger way to help might even host their own fundraising event. There are so many ways to become involved that charitable folks need not look far to be able to help.