July 7, 2020
Dear friends of the Ronald McDonald House of Rochester, Minnesota,
I hope you and your family are well and staying healthy during this global pandemic.
It has been a difficult year for all of us, in so many ways. Few could have imagined the disruption COVID-19 would cause to our families, neighborhoods, and communities. Worldwide, more than 11 million people have tested positive for the virus and more than 500,000 people have died. The economic toll is yet to be tallied; jobs have been lost, employees furloughed, and businesses permanently shuttered. After four unrelenting months and daily uncertainty, the COVID-19 storm has not yet passed and seems to be gaining a renewed strength in many states and communities across the country.
Here at the Ronald McDonald House of Rochester, our priority from the onset of this global crisis has been the health and welfare of the children and families we serve, along with House staff and volunteers and our community. I am happy to report that all is well at the House and we are weathering the storm and advancing our mission of shelter and support to ill children and their families.
On March 13, 2020, Ronald McDonald House Charities suspended all Ronald McDonald House programs worldwide. Some programs closed completely, others repurposed as respite centers for weary frontline healthcare workers, and some, like the Ronald McDonald House of Rochester, stayed open to serve the families currently residing in their Houses.
For the past 16 weeks, together with our caring community, we tenderly and safely cared for the children and families staying at the House and families who traveled to Rochester awaiting admission to the House. The creative and resilient House staff found new and innovative ways to deliver support, including virtual activities, grocery and meal delivery, and activity bags with games, books, and arts and crafts items. Because of your steady support and confidence in our actions, we have kept our doors open and our mission burning bright. Thank you for this commitment to the House and for supporting children and families during this challenging time.
We are pleased to announce that the Ronald McDonald House of Rochester recently received approval to welcome additional families into our program.
Our reinstatement to full capacity will happen in carefully planned phases to keep everyone safe and limit the risk of exposure to COVID-19. Our plan calls for measured increases in the number of families over the next few months, with designated days for family admissions. Safety will continue to be our priority as we move our mission forward. We are fully committed to keeping the House operational to serve children and families, as long as it is safe and smart to do so.
I wish you and your loved ones good health and well-being as we look towards brighter days ahead.
Peggy Elliott, Executive Director