The Ronald McDonald House Charities® are many things; and while the charity is a household name, misconceptions about the organization run abound. RMHC of Southwest Florida wants to set the record straight.
Located in Fort Myers, within walking distance from the Golisano Children’s Hospital, the Ronald McDonald House Charities®, provides housing for families who have children in the hospital. “The families are welcome to stay in the house until their children are discharged from the hospital,” Laura Ragain, Executive Director of RMHC SWFL told us. This is something most people understand about the organization, but what most people don’t know is that the name of the organization is somewhat misleading; and providing housing for parents and families in need isn’t all the organization does.
While Ronald McDonald House Charities® is associated with McDonald’s, it doesn’t actually receive its funding from the corporation. Instead, the charity relies on the surrounding communities to provide support for the house by way of donations and volunteers. Luckily for our local Ronald McDonald House Charities®, they’ve received an outpouring of support over the 21 years they’ve been in the area.
“We’re going through a growth spurt,” Amy Blanco, the marketing director shared with us. The house can currently host six families, but with the expansion of Golisano Children’s Hospital earlier this year, they too are seeking expansion in order to help the growing amount of families seeking medical help at the GCH. Currently, the house has a waitlist.
Dragoslav and Natalia Savic can attest to the importance of the RMHC SWFL. After Natalia was diagnosed with preeclampsia, she gave birth to premature baby, Viktoria. After complications, Viktoria was hospitalized for 100 days. Being from Naples, Dragoslav’s work schedule and almost hour long commute wasn’t too forgiving. Fortunately, the Savics were accepted and Natalia was able to call the house home for three months. Their experience at RMHC SWFL was so positive that Natalia and Dragoslav have visited the house since Viktoria’s release and keep up with the house goings-on through Facebook.
“It was such a happy thing that happened during such a hard time,” Natalia shared.
Although the house has received generous donations over the last two decades-particularly from Project Design, which remodeled 20 different spaces in the house for the 20th anniversary, as with most non-profit organizations, they still need more support. Whether you can give time or donate, visit www.rmhcswfl.org for more information.
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly named Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southwest Florida as the Ronald McDonald House.