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This is the house
that provides the home,
that cooks the meals,
that sleeps the people,
that dries the tears,
this is the house that love built.

History of Ronald McDonald House

In Philadelphia, the first Ronald McDonald House opened. In the early 70's, the daughter of an Eagle's football player was diagnosed with leukemia. Her father -- like many other parents wanted to be with her as much as possible. He spent countless days and nights by her bedside at the hospital.

As a leader in the community, he was able to contact friends to raise funds to fight leukemia. But he also identified another need for funds something that would help parents around the world.

Fred Hill knew what it was like for parents to stay at the hospital. It was uncomfortable without a room of their own with a comfortable bed, kitchen, laundry facility and toys for the kids. That's when the search began for a "home" where parents could stay while their child received treatment.

A large house was found within walking distance of the hospital. Owners from McDonald's Restaurants agreed to sponsor a Shamrock shake sale. More than $35,000 was raised to refurbish the house. In 1974, the dream became a reality. In honor of the clown that brings happiness to children and the support from restaurant owner, it was named the "Ronald McDonald House."

The idea quickly spread across the country and today, there are more than 150 Ronald McDonald Houses in the United States, Canada, Australia and Europe. Each year, the number increases as the need grows.

Residents pay minimal amount (if able) a night for a room that sleeps up to four members of the family. Some families only stay is just a few nights. Some, however, stay several months when their child is critically ill. Some parents return many times during the course of treatment.

Sometimes family members find themselves in a strange city without the comforting support of friends and relatives. When this happens, a parent may feel fear and defeat -- at a time when the child needs the courage and love only a family member can provide. Having family members close by has often proved to be the best medicine for a seriously ill child. But mom, dad, sister and brother can't be there if they must pay for an expensive hotel and meal cost for weeks or months.

How do I know this? My youngest son has had two liver transplants at the University of Chicago Children's Hospital and I have lost track of how may times and nights that we have spent at the "Ronald McDonald House near the University of Chicago Children's Hospital." I do not know how we could have managed if not for this House That Love Built!

Taking the time to care, Ronald McDonald House Charities and the Ronald McDonald Houses work together to provide a home-away-from-home for families of hospitalized children.

Eighty-five percent of Ronald McDonald Houses funding depends on continued generosity of individuals and businesses. The affiliation with Ronald McDonald House Charities and McDonald's continues to contribute about 15 percent of the cost of operating each house.

Volunteers make the Ronald McDonald House a "home." They greet and register families, lend a listening ear, prepare dinners, decorate the House, help with clean up days, serve on committees, and a multitude of other activities. It ensures that the House is comfortable for those needing to stay at a place that  is nearby.

Some Volunteers help by dropping off wish list items which includes baked and canned goods, frozen foods, bathroom cleaners, bedroom linens, pillows, toys, games, videos, and several other items.

Donations of time, talent or money are all wonderful ways to benefit the family members that stay at the Houses. By supporting the House nearest your lodge, you and your lodge can provide a safe, secure and affordable haven for hundreds of parents and sick children each year.

How Can You and Your Lodge Help?

You and your lodge can be Volunteers at the "House That Love Built".   Your lodge can adopt a Ronald McDonald House!

Bricks and mortar may make a "house", but Volunteers make a Ronald McDonald House "home." Every year, more than 20,000 volunteers provide tremendous support to Ronald McDonald Houses worldwide. They aid in all  aspects of House operations, including fundraising, event planning, renovation, program development and services to families. Every year, Volunteers contribute nearly one million hours of time in support of the Houses.

Several organizations have dedicated their volunteer efforts to aid Ronald McDonald House Charities. Why not your lodge too!!

If you're interested in becoming a Volunteer, please contact your local Ronald McDonald House Charity.


Children smile more with comfort, care and dedicated Volunteers.


Give tours, answer phones, register residents and help us make our "home away from home" comfortable.


Get ready for all types of chores at the House.


Organize garage sales, auctions, holiday parties, picnics and fashion shows to benefit your local Ronald McDonald House.


Every home needs handy men to repair items used by the families.

Plant flowers and help maintain a beautiful grounds for the residents.


Help sell merchandise at booths, fairs, parties and to friends that care.

Show videos and talk about our programs at clubs, organizations, businesses and schools.

Select a date to bring food and prepare meals for the families. If your time is limited, help the families by dropping off all-time favorites such as sandwich trays or pizzas.


Ronald McDonald Houses always needs various items. You can help us by donating WISH LIST items like these:

Food: baked goods, sugar, cooking oil, frozen food

Cleaning and Laundry Supplies: bathroom cleaner, bleach, Windex, food wrap, plastic storage bags, laundry detergent, dish cloths and soap, hampers, carpet fresh, furniture polish, kitchen towels Bedroom and Bathroom Supplies: mattress covers, paper products: toilet tissue, Kleenex, solid air fresheners, white twin, double and queen bed sheets, pillows, white standard pillow cases, towels, alarm clocks, heating pads Children's Needs: games, toys, stuffed animals, puzzles, video equipment, books Miscellaneous Items: AA, AAA 9 volt batteries, 60, 75 & 100 light bulbs, videos -- new releases, get well cards, magazine or paper subscriptions, 32 cent stamps, tickets to community events, umbrellas, copier paper Special Items: copy machine, fax machine, video camera, gas grill, vacuum cleaners and bags, CD's and cassettes

For more information on The Ronald McDonald House Charities click on the Ronald McDonald House logo below:

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