New Orleans’ “Home Away from Home” Prepares to Reopen
The butter yellow New Orleans Ronald McDonald House on Canal Street is a warm and welcoming 15-bedroom home with a huge kitchen and dining room, two laundry areas, a toy room, two family relaxation areas and a living room. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, its doors are temporarily closed.
“While we have not been able to provide free housing during our temporary closure, we have worked with hospital social workers to get meal and cash gift cards, as well as welcome bags with goodies for families of children undergoing medical treatment,” says Marianne Addy, Executive Director, of Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC-SLA) of South Louisiana. “These are families who are likely facing financial difficulties because of their child’s illness or injury. The global pandemic adds worry to these families’ already stressful situation and compromised health.”
Since 1983, RMHC-SLA has been keeping families with sick children close together and near to the care and resources they need. The organization has helped more than 20,000 families. Last year, it served 483 families with families from 42 Louisiana parishes, 13 other states and four foreign countries.
“In 2019, the average stay was seven nights, and families saved over $750,000 on hotel stays,” says Addy. “We provide support to hundreds of families each year with free accommodations, volunteer-provided meals, transportation if needed and a support system like no other.”
The organization has been completing its plans and procedures necessary to ensure they are aligned with all global RMHC COVID-19 requirements and are fully prepared to reopen.
“Once our program has been approved for reopening to families, we will begin by admitting a limited number of families at a time,” says Addy. “This will be accompanied by a robust set of procedures designed to protect families and staff to the greatest extent possible, including heightened cleaning and disinfection protocols, social distancing measures, wellness checks and use of personal protective equipment.”
Like so many nonprofits, RMHC-SLA’s spring and summer fundraisers were canceled or postponed due to COVID-19, so any monetary or in-kind donations raised will go towards offsetting those shortfalls.
“We have a former family member who lives out of state who has raised almost $4,000 this month on Facebook to celebrate her 40th birthday,” says Addy.
The organization is also very excited that progress has been ongoing on its plans for house expansion and relocation to Children’s Hospital’s campus.
“I am sure there will be other ways to help in the months to come, so tell your readers to stay tuned,” says Addy.
The mission of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of South Louisiana is to provide a “home-away-from-home” to families of seriously ill children and to provide programs that give comfort, compassion and care to children and their families.
Guiding the organization in its mission are its core values:
- Focusing on the critical needs of children;
- Celebrating the diversity of the programs offered and the staff, volunteers and donors who make them possible;
- Staying true to its heritage of responsible stewardship; and
- Operating with accountability and transparency.
How can readers help?
Any virtual fundraiser is a great benefit to RMHC.
Gifts made through its website or by mailing a check directly to the house are always appreciated.
The RMHC-SLA food pantry was restocked recently, but they do have a wish list on Amazon of needed items.
Mailing Address: 4403 Canal St. New Orleans, LA 70119
Phone: (504) 486-6668