General Questions & Questions for Families

General Questions

What is Ronald McDonald House Charities® of the Ohio Valley?

Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) of the Ohio Valley is a nonprofit 501 (c)(3) organization and a chapter of the global Ronald McDonald House Charities. RMHC of the Ohio Valley, Inc. creates, finds and supports programs that improve the health and well-being of children and their families.

Our chapter impacts children through three programs: Ronald McDonald House program, Grants program (100% funded by local McDonald’s Owner/Operators) and Happy Wheels Cart program.

Who owns and operates the Evansville Ronald McDonald House?

The House is owned and operated by Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Ohio Valley and is governed by a local Board of Directors.

If the Ronald McDonald House is a place for families to stay while their child is in the hospital, what is the purpose of the Grants program?

When RMHC of the Ohio Valley was established in 1989, our chapter hosted golf outings and other fundraising events, then granted the money to local children’s organizations whose mission aligned with ours. In 2007, the local chapter’s focus transitioned into establishing Evansville’s own Ronald McDonald House. Our Ronald McDonald House opened its doors on January 18, 2010. In 2013, thanks to a restricted gift from local McDonald’s Owner/Operators and matching dollars from RMHC “Global” (located in Chicago, IL) we were once again able to expand our reach through our Grants program. By supporting local non-profits through out Grants program, we are able to impact a larger audience of children who may not have otherwise been influenced by our Ronald McDonald House.

Who operates the Ronald McDonald House?

Our RMH has seven paid staff members. We have an outstanding amount of support from volunteers. There are over 130 active volunteers who typically work 3 hour shifts at a time from 7:00 AM- 9:00 PM, 365 days a year. Annually volunteers serve over 11,000 hours!

How many Ronald McDonald Houses are there?

As of August 2017, there are 366 Ronald McDonald Houses in 43 countries and regions. All operate under licensing guidelines from the global Ronald McDonald House Charities (based out of Chicago, IL). However, each Ronald McDonald House is independently operated.

What’s inside our Ronald McDonald House?

Our House features: Ten comfortable bedrooms equipped with televisions, a private bathroom and amenities, LEED certification providing health and environmental benefits, three community kitchens, laundry room, play room, game room, beautiful courtyard and a community room.

How is the House funded?

By generous supporters like you! Over 80 percent of our operating funds come from individuals, organizations and businesses in the tri-state area and beyond. It costs about $500,000 annually to operate our Ronald McDonald House. The majority of that amount is raised through individual and corporate donations. There are 21 avenues of ways to financially support our RMHC! Whether it’s collecting pop tabs, attending one of our special events, making a donation in honor or memory of someone, even donating your vehicle – there are many ways you can ensure that our RMHC is able to help families stay together at a time when they need each other most.

Does McDonald’s Corporation subsidize the House?

From the opening of the first Ronald McDonald House in 1974 in Philadelphia, PA, the entire McDonald’s system (Owner/Operators, Suppliers, Employees & Customers) has chosen to be a mission partner. Local McDonald’s restaurant Owner/Operators and the McDonald’s Corporation fund between 15 and 20 percent of our annual operating costs. This funding includes but is not limited to: in-store canister donations and newspaper sales, Happy Meal proceeds, and annual gifts from McDonald’s restaurant Owner/Operators. RMHC relies on the support of the entire community and greatly values donations from other corporate partners.

How can I support the Evansville Ronald McDonald House Chapter?

By donating and volunteering! We could not operate our Ronald McDonald House or Happy Wheels Cart programs without volunteers or donations from individuals and groups. Our volunteers are the heart and soul of our programs – and the reason we can accomplish so much with such a small staff.

What do volunteers do?

Volunteers are vital to our operation. There are 4 main categories:

1. Front Desk Volunteers:
– Greet Visitors and Guests
– Answer the phone
– Check families in and out

2. Floater/House Keeping:
– Miscellaneous cleaning throughout the House
– Cleaning of the Guest Rooms when families check out
– Organizing projects

3. Maintenance:
– Mow the grass
– Change the light bulbs
– Trash/Recycling

4. Happy Wheels Cart:
– Maintain and stock the inventory of the Cart
– Offer smiles, refreshments and toys to families within the walls of the the hospital by pushing around the Happy Wheels Cart

To learn more, click here.

For Families

Who can stay at the House?

Families of critically ill children under the age of 21 undergoing medical treatment at area medical facilities, and who live more than 15 miles from Evansville or out of the state of Indiana, are eligible.

How much does it cost to stay at the Ronald McDonald House?

Although it costs approximately $100 per guest room, per night to operate our Ronald McDonald House, we only ask families for a suggested donation of $10 per night. Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, no one is ever turned away due to inability to pay.

How long do families usually stay at the House?

It varies greatly, depending on the child’s illness and treatment. Stays may last a few days to several months. To date, our longest length of stay at the Evansville Ronald McDonald House was 124 nights.

What is the difference between a Community Guest and an Overnight Guest?

In order to utilize our Ronald McDonald House, families must be referred by a social worker or nurse at their child's medical facility. Our House can accommodate up to ten Overnight Guest families. Overnight Guests must live more than 15 miles away or out of the state of Indiana.

Although a family who lives within 15 miles of our RMH can not stay overnight, they are still able to utilize the House. Community Guests are welcome to take a break from the hospital, and come to our Ronald McDonald House to relax and watch tv in our community room, get something to eat and even freshen up and take a shower by using our public restrooms - all without having to go home.

Who may stay at Ronald McDonald House?

Parents, legal guardians, siblings and caretakers of the patient are welcome to stay.

Is there a fee to stay at the Ronald McDonald House?

Family income is not a consideration for admittance. All Overnight Guest families are asked to make a suggested donation of $10 a night towards the cost of their stay; however, no one is ever turned away due to inability to pay.

When can I check in?

Check-in time is requested to occur between 8:00 AM and 8:00 PM seven days a week.

What can families expect when they arrive at Ronald McDonald House?

When you arrive, you will be greeted and welcomed by our front desk volunteer and begin the registration process. As a part of that process, we will request a photo ID for all adult guests staying in your room. The volunteer or staff member on duty will then review the House Rules, ask you to agree to the rules by signing the appropriate paperwork and then will provide a tour of the House.

What is the maximum stay?

As long as a child is being treated at a local medical facility, families are welcome to stay at our Ronald McDonald House. Eligibility is based on the referral form filled out by the social worker at the hospital or medical facility.

Does the House provide food for families?

We have a community pantry that is stocked through donations by the community. Outside volunteer groups visit the House to make meals for the families. Our pantry also has lockers to store food for individually purchased items. Our kitchen has a community refrigerator and three refrigerators assigned to individual rooms. There is no eating allowed in the rooms or anywhere in the House outside of the kitchen and dining room. To maintain the cleanliness of our House, only water is allowed in the Guest Rooms.

Does the House provide transportation?

When available, we have minivan that can be used to shuttle families as necessary. For those families whose child is a patient of St. Vincent, there is a complimentary shuttle between the House and St. Vincent facilities by request. St. Vincent is within walking distance.

Does the House provide counseling?

There is no formal counseling program. The social worker at your child's medical facility is the best contact.

Can families have visitors?

Visiting hours are between 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. Visitors are welcome, but must sign in and out at the front desk. Please do not plan on coming to the House if, within the last month, you or any family members have been exposed to any infectious diseases.

Can families receive mail or packages at the House?

Yes. All mail and packages should be addressed to your room as follows: Your child’s name (patient), Ronald McDonald House, 3540 Washington Ave., Evansville, IN 47714. Mail is delivered Monday – Saturday.

Is smoking permitted?

There is no smoking or use of tobacco products anywhere in the House or on the property.

Do I have to bring my own linens?

No. Towels, blankets, and other linens are provided.

Is there maid service?

No. Families help in keeping the House clean and tidy. Families are responsible for keeping their room in good condition, cleaning up after their family members in all areas of the House and washing their linens as needed during their stay.

Is there babysitting service?

No. Parents are required to be responsible for their own children and provide supervision at all times.

Is there a curfew?

The House is open 24 hours a day for families staying here to come and go. Visiting hours are between 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.

Are pets allowed?

Only service animals are allowed in the House and require advance approval.

Is there internet access available?

The House does offer free wireless internet access. Limited access to computers for family use may be available, but availability is subject to change.