Questions About the Ronald McDonald House® of Rochester, Minnesota

What is a Ronald McDonald House®?

The Ronald McDonald House® is a home-away-from-home for families who must travel hundreds, sometimes thousands of miles to seek medical treatment for their children. The House keeps families close to the medical care and support they need. Families who stay at the Ronald McDonald House® share their stories and gain new insights as they meet children and parents with similar concerns. The House is a place to share hopes and dreams. Thanks to the caring support of volunteers and staff, the burdens shared become a bit lighter – easing the pain of some very special people. Your support of the Ronald McDonald House® says you care and lets you reach out to these children and their families. Contributions are tax deductible.

Are all the Ronald McDonald Houses® connected?

Ronald McDonald Houses® are all licensees of the McDonald’s Corporation, and McDonald’s provides many support services to the House program. However, each Ronald McDonald House® is a separate, individual non-profit 501(c) 3 Corporation, with their own board of trustees, supported by individuals, organizations and businesses within their community.

What is the legal name of the Ronald McDonald House® of Rochester, Minnesota?

Our legal name is Ronald McDonald House® of Rochester, Minnesota, Inc.

Questions About Staying at the Ronald McDonald House® of Rochester, Minnesota

Can families make a reservation? Do they need a referral? If you are full, what do families do?

The Ronald McDonald House® is filled on a first come, first served basis. We are not able to take reservations… because families with ill children are not able to predict when their children will get better and when they’ll get to go home.  For all new families, please read and follow the steps outlined in our “How to Stay With Us” section to allow us to best serve you upon your arrival in Rochester.

What are the facilities like? How many rooms do you have? Do you have a pool? How many can stay in the room? Do you do tours?

The House has 42 guestrooms or “bedrooms”. Each room has a queen size bed and a twin bed with a trundle bed underneath or twin bunk beds. There is also a private bathroom. Each room has a closet, drawers, shelves, desk area, telephone with voicemail and all-in-one computer system (computer with webcam, TV & DVD).  We do not have a pool.  Room occupancy is limited one room per family and five family members per room.  We provide tours of the first floor of the Ronald McDonald House® to the general public and eligible families can contact us once they have arrived in Rochester to schedule a full House tour (507) 282-3955.

Who stays with the families/kids?

Most often it is the patient’s parent or parents. We also have siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, foster parents, and friends. Anyone who is part of the child’s support system is welcome here.

Are there babysitting services?

The House does not provide babysitting service. Parents and adult caregivers are responsible for their own children at all times providing supervision of any child under the age of 18. Patients 18 years and younger and any other guests/children under 18 can not be left alone at the Ronald McDonald House® of Rochester, Minnesota

How long do family/kids stay? What is the average stay?

Families are allowed to stay as long as their child is receiving medically necessary care; inpatient or 4 appointments per week if outpatient, and meeting the House’s outlined Rules and Expectations.  Sometimes this may be only a few nights and sometimes this extends to 6 months or more. The average stay varies but we often see families staying 7-10 days.

Does the House provide any other services besides residency?

  • Our Family Activity Program provides families with quality activities while staying at the Ronald McDonald House® of Rochester, Minnesota.  The goal of these activities is help provide peer/parent interaction, supportive conversations between Ronald McDonald House® program staff and child/parent and provide a healthy distraction for the entire family.
  • Thanks to donations there are pantry foods available.  Just enough for a light snack or a quick meal.
  • A shuttle service takes families to and from the clinic and hospital. M-F daytime hours.
  • At times we have grocery and gas gift certificates donated which are of great help to families facing financial stress. Donated phone cards also help our families keep in touch with loved ones at home.
  • Community members provide opportunities for our guests to get together at House Dinners and other fun activities in the house.
  • Tutors can be arranged for children by the Rochester, Minnesota Public School system

Does the House have medical personnel on staff?

No. The House is a lodging facility that gives families a respite from the hospital.  If you can perform medical procedures within your own home, it is generally allowed at the Ronald McDonald House®.

Does the House provide counseling?

There is no formal counseling program, but the families do get support from the staff, the volunteers, and the other families. Families do a wonderful job of counseling each other. They share fears and hope as well as practical information about medications and treatments and often lasting friendships are made. The Family Services staff are available to suggest community counseling resources for the patient and members of the family.

Does the House provide food for families?

The Ronald McDonald House has a kitchen pantry with many non-perishable food items and milk  donated to the House by our caring community. Each family is responsible for cooking their own meals in the common kitchen. They are welcome to use these donated items and are assigned refrigerator and pantry space for the foods they purchase.

On most Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays, volunteer groups from the community sign up to cook and serve evening meals for the families in the community room. A schedule of the meals and menus is posted each week.

Is there a maid service?

No. The House has a housekeeper who cleans the common areas of the House, but families are expected to keep their own rooms clean, do their own dishes in the kitchen, and their own laundry.

Is smoking permitted at the House?

No, smoking is not permitted in the House or on Ronald McDonald House® property.

Questions About Supporting the Ronald McDonald House® of Rochester, Minnesota

How is the Ronald McDonald House® supported?

General donations amount to 55% of the House budget, while revenue from special events makes up about 25%. Guest receipts (the $15/night families are asked to contribute toward their stay) make up about 10% of the annual budget for the House. 10% of the annual revenues are generated from “other” miscellaneous sources.

But I thought McDonald’s funded the Ronald McDonald Houses. . .

The McDonald’s Corporation and McDonald’s restaurant owners support Ronald McDonald Houses in many ways, and we are very grateful for all they do for us. McDonald’s sponsor special events, support the pop tab program, and collect donations through their store canisters, a percentage of which, support the Ronald McDonald House® of Rochester, Minnesota. However, we simply couldn’t begin to afford to run our House year in and year out without the financial support of individuals, groups, and organizations in our community.

Why do you collect pop tabs? If I collect them, what do I do with them?

Pop tabs are recycled at the current aluminum rate. Your pop tab collection can be brought to the House or to any of the McDonald’s restaurants in our area. Many schools and churches also collect the tabs for us. Pop tabs are a great fundraiser bringing in over $10,000 to the House annually. Collection containers are available by contacting us. Visit our Pop Tab Program page for more information.

What are the most pressing needs of the House? How can I help/volunteer?

Share your talent and your time with the families at the Ronald McDonald House®. There are many ways to help. Please see the volunteer section of this website for a list of many rewarding ways that you can make a difference at the Ronald McDonald House®.

If you prefer to donate financially, you can donate online here.

Our Needs List is always up-to-date and includes the items that are currently a high-priority need. See our most up-to-date Needs List here.

Can I come play with the kids or visit families?

Groups and organizations are invited to plan House dinners or special events for families here. Due to the varying medical conditions of the children here, we are unable to arrange individual visits with children. Volunteers in the Ronald McDonald House® of Rochester, Minnesota must be 16 years old. Visitors must be healthy and free of any infectious condition.

I’m interested in teaching my children/group/class about volunteering. What family-friendly volunteer activities do you have?

We have many ways that families and groups can get together and support the Ronald McDonald House® as a family or group. Learn more about our group service projects here.