100 Women Who Care help Ronald McDonald House with major expansion

The Ronald McDonald House at Memorial Hospital is undergoing a major expansion and they recently got an unexpected boost.

For fourteen years the Ronald McDonald Family Room has been providing a home away from home to families of sick children.

"What we try to create here in our space is a way to get away," said Executive Director, Becky Summers.  "It’s a nice comfortable space that they can go in and use a kitchen like they would at home, just sit down on the couch and pull up a blanket and watch TV for five minutes. Just to get a break and have a moment for themselves because they need to have the energy to go back and make their child heal."

They even have three overnight rooms for families who are from out of town where they can stay free of charge for as long as it takes for their children to get better, but they’ve outgrown their space. 

Right now the Ronald McDonald House operates a small space inside Memorial Hospital, but in just a few months they will make the short trip across the Skyway Bridge on the Memorial campus to a new 15,000 plus square foot facility.

"Going from 1,500 square feet to over 15,000 square feet will change dramatically what we can do for the families," said Summers. "The day services and the opportunities that we have to serve more meals and have people come in and help will just be exponentially than it’s ever been before."

That expansion comes with a price tag of $2.9 million. Thanks to generous donations, they have almost met that goal and construction is well underway, but they still have $507,000 to go.

That's where the 100 Women Who Care come into play.

"It’s a gathering of 100 plus women and you make a quarterly donation of $100, so the total donation of the year adds up to $400," said 100 Women Who Care member DeAnn Devenney.

The women then recommend a local charity who they feel deserves the total donation of $10,000. This quarter Devenney nominated the Ronald McDonald house.

"I wasn’t sure that everybody was aware that we have such a wonderful facility right here in our region," said Devenney.

Little did she know there was someone right in her own group who knew all too well.

"We were brought over here with some major complications and spent some time in the NICU," said Jenny Welch.

Welch is co-founder of the Elkhart chapter of the 100 Women Who Care.

She got to experience that generosity after her daughter gave birth to her grandchild.

"It just touched our hearts and obviously our daughters because we did lose our granddaughter so it was just touching to our family that that could be the recipient of this month of the $10,000,"  

For the Ronald McDonald House that means continuing to be able to touch families just like Welch’s.

"Every donation that we have is the opportunity to serve one more family, to give them one more day away and that’s important," said Summers.

"They can stay months," added Welch. "They can stay weeks. They can stay a couple days or whatever it is for that particular family, they can feel like this is home."

Soon that will be a much larger home that will be able to impact even more families. 

If you would like information on how you can donate to the Ronald McDonald House or are interested in volunteering click here.

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