Ronald McDonald House helps families when they need it most

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The Ronald McDonald House helps hundreds of families get through a very difficult time in their lives. It is funded by loose change collected in boxes at McDonald’s and donations. ABC57 got a tour of the Ronald McDonald House Family Room inside Memorial Hospital.

"It's everything to us. Just being able to stay here with her and spend as much time with her as we can, like we were at home is what it feels like,” said Jesstin and Samantha Wallace.

For one month, the Wallaces have lived in the Ronald McDonald family room just down the hall from the most important person in their life.

"Our daughter was 9 weeks early and we just can't drive back and forth going from work to home in Plymouth to here and I just wouldn't be able to do it,” said Jesstin and Samantha.

Here, they have a room of their own to sleep, a kitchen to eat all of their meals and a staff of volunteers ready to help in any way they can.

"Get a smile on their face and see them relax a little bit. Anything we can do to help them. And they appreciate it so much-- very much they appreciate it-- they do,” said Kathy Gallivan and Betty Baliz, volunteers for the Ronald McDonald House.

The best part of this program is that it's completely free to the guests.

"The board has really worked hard over the years to make sure we're able to open our doors and do everything that we do free of charge to the families,” said Shelley Lesniewicz, Executive Director of Ronald McDonald House Charities Michiana.

Which means families like the Wallaces don't have to worry about anything other than being with their child.

The Ronald McDonald House of Michiana estimates that it needs about $300,000 per year to operate and the Ronald McDonald donation boxes raise about $100,000 a year.

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