One of over 309 Ronald McDonald Houses worldwide, the Ronald McDonald House of Temple serves as a home away from home for families with seriously ill children receiving medical treatment at local hospitals. Although each House has the same mission, they are each independently owned and operated.
Kim Hill is the girl whose illness prompted the first Ronald McDonald House. Kim’s dad, Fred, played for the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles wanted to help the Hill family and the other families they saw when they visited Kim at the hospital. Dr. Audrey Evans suggested a home away from home close to the hospital where the families could have a sense of normalcy in their lives. They could draw support from one another and from other families in similar situations. She also asked for money for research to find a cure for cancer. The Eagles provided the money and the manpower to renovate an older home near the hospital. Community groups and businesses were asked to help. Ray Kroc, owner of McDonald’s, was approached about giving a portion of the money raised from the sale of shamrock shakes to the special house. He agreed to give all of the money if the House could be called Ronald McDonald House. Another reason for the name is to give the House a positive, hopeful image like that of the world-famous clown.
Kim spent her life fighting cancer with a great attitude and her life made a significant difference in this world. She passed away in March, 2011 at the age of 44. She is survived by her parents, her son, two sisters, and over 300 Ronald McDonald Houses.
The first Ronald McDonald House opened in 1974. There are now over 284 Ronald McDonald Houses in 30 countries and regions. Although licensed by McDonald’s Corporation, each Ronald House is owned and operated by its own not for profit corporation. Each House has its own rules, by-laws, fundraisers, and personality. Some are renovated houses, motels, or office buildings. The Temple House was built to be a Ronald McDonald House in 1986. Our Board of Directors is comprised of civic leaders, physicians, bankers, accountants, media representatives, and NFL representatives, each of whom donates his or her time, talents, and resources to help the House.
Located just over a mile of the main Scott & White campus, the Ronald McDonald House of Temple has been open since September 1986 and has provided safe, comfortable lodging and support for over 8,500 families from all over the world. Families are encouraged to have a sense of normalcy in their lives: cook the meals they want, wash their clothes, be together as a family to receive support from one another and from families in similar situations. Two pantries are stocked with donated food items that are available for families to use. Guests are welcome to wash their clothes in the laundry rooms. Guests who have no transportation may ride on the House van to and from the hospitals
With a budget of just over $400,000 per year, the Ronald McDonald House is supported by the generous gifts of individuals and businesses in the community.
Because of the wide range of pediatric specialists at Scott & White, the population of our House consists of patients with a variety of illnesses. Many of the families are here because of a premature birth. In those cases, the parents stay here along with their other children while their newborn is in the nursery until ready to go home. Because some patients may only have treatments for a few minutes a day, they stay here with their families and keep their lives as normal as possible. School age children can keep up with their classmates at home by having their class work emailed or faxed to them. Computers, encyclopedias and other reference books are available to the guests. Televisions, VCR’s, video games, and books are in abundance at the House and there is an outdoor play yard.
Donors such as the Frank & Sue Mayborn Foundation, the Meadows Foundation, the E. Rhodes & Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, the Jeld-Wen Foundation, Wilsonart International, and Mr. & Mrs. Hal Leverson helped the House to expand from eight bedrooms to eighteen bedrooms, each with private baths as opposed to the original communal bathrooms. The expansion was completed in 2002 and most of the rooms are occupied the majority of nights.
Fundraisers for the Temple Ronald McDonald House include the Bob Lilly/Randy White Celebrity Golf Classic in May and a Light a Light; Share a Night event near Christmas is highlighted by outdoor decorations by Christmas Décor. A co-op comprised of local McDonald’s owner/operators, along with McDonald’s Corporation, provides supplemental funding for operating the House. Over 90% of our guests have family members at Scott & White and on an average night, over 60% of the rooms are occupied. Other medical facilities that send families to stay with us include Children’s Hospital at Scott & White, and Cedar Crest Residential Treatment Center.
Families must be referred to the House by a social worker, doctor, or nurse. The referral is based on how far from home the family is and the fact that they have a sick child receiving medical treatment locally. Each family is asked to pay $10 per night, but no one is turned away because of an inability to pay and the fee may be waived if necessary.
Smoking is not allowed in the House and alcohol and weapons are not allowed on the premises.
A volunteer Board of Directors, comprised of civic leaders and business professionals, sets policies, manages the finances, and conducts fundraisers for the House. An Executive Director, Business Manager, and House Manager staff the House during the day, a night manager is on duty Sunday through Thursday nights, and weekend managers on the weekends. Volunteers are always a vital and welcome part of the House.
National donors help provide extra comforts. Coca-Cola donates vending machines and Coke products to each House and the House gets to keep the money generated. Nestle’ and Georgia Pacific are among the other national donors who yearly send boxes of supplies. Ronald McDonald House is the national philanthropy of the Alpha Delta Pi Sorority. Brand Source became a donor in 2004 and donates new appliances each year to each Ronald McDonald House.
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