Knoxville's Ronald McDonald House has been serving families of sick and injured children since 1985
The house is open to any family with a child, age 21 or under, who is receiving medical treatment at an area hospital, including East Tennessee Children's Hospital. Since opening its doors, nearly 50,000 people have found a home when they needed one the most.Walking through the front door of Knoxville's Ronald McDonald House is like walking into a neighbor's home. The Ronald McDonald House is a beautifully decorated historic home that would make anyone feel comfortable. Just off the foyer, families are invited to help themselves to a cup of coffee and a bite to eat in the kitchen, which makes one feel like being at home. The atmosphere is just that -- a home away from home. Families are asked for a donation of $5 per night for a room. The house provides facilities for sleeping, cooking, laundry and play. Relatives are also welcome to stay in this house, including grandparents and siblings of the child receiving medical treatment. The Ronald McDonald House environment breaks all socio-economic barriers, as families from varied backgrounds experience similar situations with their children and draw support from each other. "It becomes a surrogate family," said Sue Beverly of Knoxville's Ronald McDonald House.
The Ronald McDonald House also offers a day-use program where families with children at Children's Hospital or other area hospitals can use the house's laundry, cooking and other facilities during the day. This provides a way for families to complete daily tasks while away from home but still remain close to their sick child.On Valentine's Day, 2000, the Ronald McDonald House opened a second house beside the original house. Together the two buildings can accommodate 16 families or 65 people nightly. These facilities are supported solely by the community, which means the house needs everything that your house needs multiplied by 16, for the 16 families the house can support daily. About 60 percent of those families are at the Ronald McDonald House because of a child's stay at Children's Hospital. Daily volunteers are also needed to support the house, which needs everything from preparation of meals to yard work. Most importantly, our House is a warm and friendly "HOME" where families meet other families whose children are experiencing similar medical problems, which allows them to draw additional comfort and support from new-found friendships.