Frequently Asked Questions
Portland's two Ronald McDonald Houses are licensed and operated by Ronald McDonald House Charities of Oregon and Southwest Washington and governed by a Board of Trustees.
Generous supporters like you! The majority of our operating funds comes from individuals and corporate donors. While we ask families to pay $20 per night, this fee is often reduced or waived completely. These fees cover approximately 5% of our operating costs and the remaining 95% is generated through donations and fundraising activities -- so you can see that your support is needed.
RMHC, with support from RMHC Global, offers grants to charitable organizations that provide free immunizations and dental care to children in Oregon and Southwest Washington. Since 2002, RMHC's outreach program has served approximately 47,000 children and distributed $435,136 in grant money for this purpose. RMHC's Outreach Program is funded by donations made in donation boxes at McDonald's restaurants throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington.
Many McDonald's franchisees and the McDonald's Corporation generously support RMHC through in-restaurant fundraisers such as the RMHC Donation Box program and World Children's Day. The McDonald's Corporation also owns the trademark to the Ronald McDonald House Charities name, but each RMHC chapter is independently licensed and operated.
Donations made through the Donation Box program and other McDonald's promotions fund between 15 and 20 percent of RMHC's annual operating costs. This amount varies from chapter to chapter. Additionally, many McDonald's Owner/Operator's personally support RMHC.
All Ronald McDonald Houses throughout the world share a common purpose to provide a "home away from home" for families of seriously ill children receiving treatment at nearby hospitals. However, each one is independently licensed and operated, and programs and eligibility requirements will vary from house to house.
By donating and volunteering! We could not operate the House without donations from individuals and groups. Our volunteers help keep our operating costs low - and are the reason we can accomplish so much with such a small staff.
RMHC of Oregon and Southwest Washington has a $1.8 million operating budget. This is used for maintaining and operating the Ronald McDonald Houses every day of the year.
There are two Houses in Portland and 298 independently owned and operated Ronald McDonald Houses throughout the world.
The East House can accomodate 24 families and the West House can accommodate 16 families.
RMHC has a paid staff that runs the day-to-day operations. They are supported by volunteers.
We appreciate you thinking of us. We always want to make sure that the items you donate are needed and will be put to use right away. We accept only NEW and UNUSED items. Our House Hero packs are the best way to donate items that the Houses need the most. Please contact us directly, and we will let you know if it is something we can use -- East Ronald McDonald House, 971-230-6700, West Ronald McDonald House, 971-230-0808.
To support a family you know, we suggest making a cash donation designated to cover their stay -- our lodging fee is $20 per day. Other items that are usually appreciated are food baskets (alcohol not permitted) or gift certificates to a local restaurant or grocery store. Still not sure? Just contact our House Managers, they are happy to suggest items.
Volunteers are vital to keeping our doors open to families. Volunteers greet visitors, help with cleaning and day-to-day operations. They also organize fundraisers, cook dinners and provide support at fundraising events.
Let us customize your company's volunteer and giving experience. Check out our Corporate Involvement page or contact Kimberlee Harper Hanken at firstname.lastname@example.org or 971-230-6707.
Most often, it is the families of the seriously ill or injured children staying with us, not the patient. Some children stay with us on an outpatient basis and some families bring the patient's sibling(s) to the House. Volunteers may be able to play games or do craft activities with these children, but there is no guarantee that the children will be in the House while volunteers are working.
Many of our families are not certain if they will be staying with us during the holidays so we don't have a family adoption program. During the holidays, we encourage people to either make a cash contribution or to shop for items on the House Wish List.
Staying with us
Families of seriously ill or injured children who have traveled more than 30 miles to receive treatment at Portland hopsitals may qualify to stay at the Houses. All families must complete a screening process. See our housing eligibility guidelines.
We ask families to pay $20 per night to stay at the House, but the fee is waived or reduced for families who cannot afford it.
The East Ronald McDonald House is located on the campus of Legacy Emanuel Hospital just steps away from the entrace to the Children's Hospital. The West Ronald McDonald House is located adjacent to the entrance of Doernbecher Children's Hospital and OHSU, and is a short walk from Shriners Hospital for Children.
Families must live at least 30 miles away from Portland.
Family income is not a qualification for admission.
We always do our best to accommodate as many families as possible. However, we frequently receive more requests than we have rooms available. We do not accept reservations, but do accept requests for rooms. As rooms become available during the day and other families check out, families are notified of any openings. If the House closest to the treating hospital is full, the family may be referred to our other House if there is availability. We encourage families to accept this option, however, some families refuse because of the distance from the hospital. If we do not have availability for a family, a family may decide to stay at a hotel or at the hospital.
After a family is referred by a hospital social worker/case manager and it is determined that the House has room availability, they must complete a check-in with House staff or volunteers. During this check-in process, they receive a brief introduction, review House policies and procedures and take a quick tour. A Ronald McDonald House representative will also show them their private bed/bathroom and provide them with a set of keys. After this orientation, families are able to return to the hospital, relax in their room, enjoy a meal with their family and other guests in the dining room, or spend time in any of the common areas within the House.
The average length of stay is seven nights, but varies widely. Some families stay just one night, while other stays extend to several months.
The Ronald McDonald House provides a "home away from home" for families in a clean, affordable, comfortable and supportive environment close to the hospital.
Each House has a communal kitchen and pantry of non-perishable foods that are offered free to families. Each family is assigned cupboard space and an area in a shared refrigerator where they can store their personal food. Outside volunteer groups regularly visit the House to make dinners for the families. There is also a volunteer driver who periodically takes families to the grocery store.
No. However, we encourage families to use any of the televisions and DVD players available in the common areas of the Houses. A selection of videos is also available free of charge.
All of the rooms are private and have their own bed(s) and bathroom.
Room sizes vary but six occupants is typically the maximum permitted. Note that rooms are assigned based on availability, and not all rooms will accomodate six people over night.
Generally no. There are two exceptions to this general rule. Families of patients age 19-21 may stay if the patient is continuing treatment that began when he/she was age 18 or younger, AND the family stayed at a Ronald McDonald House in the past.
To stay at a Ronald McDonald House, a family must be referred by a hospital social worker/case manager. To find who is assigned to the patient, please contact the hospital directly. They will contact us if the family qualifies.
Yes. We accept deliveries during normal business hours and will be happy to forward them to the family. Because families sometimes check-out unexpectedly, it is best to call and confirm that they are still staying at the House before you send anything.
There is no formal counseling program, but families get support from staff, volunteers and other families going through similar experiences.
Visitors are welcome, but must sign in at the front desk. The children living at Ronald McDonald House are medically fragile and highly susceptible to infections. Any person who has a physical condition that would endanger the health of our other guests such as the flu, chickenpox, etc. may not visit the Houses.
We provide bed linens and towels which families are responsible for laundering. We provide free washers and dryers in each House.
No. All families have a daily chore in addition to keeping their rooms clean and doing their own dishes and laundry. Families are asked to clean their room before checking out of the House. They are also expected to clean up after themselves in any communal areas they use.
No. Parents are required to be responsible for their own children and provide supervision at all times. Children under age 18 may not be left alone in the House.
Rooms in both of our Houses have either twin, double, or queen-size beds, a private bathroom, closet space, dresser, and telephone. Please visit our House Guest section to take a tour of the Houses.
The buildings and grounds of both houses are completely smoke free.
To maintain the safety of our guests, the House doors are always locked. Guests receive keys so that they may come and go at convenient times. Quiet hours are between 10 pm and 8 am.