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  • Member profile: Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Red River Valley

  • Member profile: Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Red River Valley

    Member profile: Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Red River Valley

    People's Choice winner - 2018 ChamberChoice Awards

    Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) of the Red River Valley is the only organization of its kind in the community. Their mission is to support families whose children are receiving medical care in the area by providing home-like comfort, support and care.

    The organization was born out of need – a need for families to be close to their sick child without having to sleep on the floor, in their car or other less than desirable places. They provide not just a comfortable bed, but an ear to listen, a home-cooked meal, and a support system where families can connect with each other.

    To meet the needs of families in the Fargo-Moorhead area, the first Fargo Ronald McDonald House was opened in 1982 in north Fargo. In 2005, a second Fargo Ronald McDonald House was opened in south Fargo in response to increased demand.

    With the need to address hospital growth and outgrowing family space, a new Ronald McDonald House opened in May 2018 to serve as an expansion and replacement of the two former houses near the new Sanford hospital.

    With the unwavering support of a RMHC founding partner, Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Red River Valley fundraised for a 17-guest room, 30,000 square foot facility. The new facility is located at 4757 Agassiz Crossing South in Fargo and has a large, fully stocked ADA family kitchen; a volunteer kitchen; private bathrooms for each bedroom; living rooms/community spaces; laundry facilities; playroom; game room; outside playground area; administrative space; and capacity to expand to 24 bedrooms.

    RMHC is excited to add a Family Room program with Essentia Health in their new NICU space expected to open in the fall of 2019. This will offer a respite room for families as they are by their baby’s side and will be the first Ronald McDonald Family Room in the Dakotas.

    In 2018, RMHC served 357 families. Jill Christopher, executive director said, “Our goal is to limit stress by helping families stay near each other and to the care their children need as they encounter one of life’s most difficult situations. We strive to provide secure and home-like accommodation—a place where additional strength and stability is received from a comfortable room, home-cooked meals, amenities from home and connections with other families in similar situations.”

    In addition to supporting the hospital community, RMHC provides volunteer opportunities for hundreds of community members a year. This includes team-building like maintenance work or making a meal, youth opportunities like coloring ornaments or making blankets. Plus, their Heartwarmer program is geared toward folks who have left the paid, working world. “Heartwarmer volunteers are more extensively trained to cover the house so staff members can attend trainings and have lunch breaks,” Christopher explained. “We are excited to have such talented community members dedicate weekly time to our organization.”

    This year’s People’s Choice organization puts its people first – their staff, volunteers, partners and families, by focusing on their core values of heart, integrity, exceptional service, partnership, and team.

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