While Halloween is right around the corner for the Syracuse University community, so is the Ronald McDonald House on East Genessee Street. Many in the area have heard of this non-profit organization; however, it seems like only few know about its missions and goals. Instead of serving Big Macs and happy meals to the community on a daily basis, the Ronald McDonald House offers up hope and a place to stay for families across the country every day of the year.
Residents are encouraged to pay a donation of $25 per night, but the payment is not binding. Facilities that are provided for families within the Syracuse Ronald McDonald House include private hotel-style bedrooms, home-cooked meals, a fitness center, and a playroom.
The independent non-profit organization was founded by its mission partner, McDonald’s. Throughout the years, Ronald McDonald Houses have become a ‘home away from home’ for families, from out of state, who are seeking treatments – in the area – for their seriously ill or injured children.
A good majority of the employees at the Ronald McDonald House are volunteers from the local Syracuse community. Ranging from students at SU to stay-at-home moms, volunteers assist with cooking and cleaning the facilities for the guests. The Syracuse Ronald McDonald House has seen visitors from countries as far and foreign as Turkey, as well as certain regions of Africa.
“I think really the most important thing that happens and that’s really consistent with every family that I have an opportunity to meet and speak to is how grateful they are for having the opportunity to be here and have a home-like setting,” said Beth Trunfio, the Executive Director of the CNY Ronald McDonald Houses. “So they don’t have to think about or worry about anything other than their child and they’re grateful to the volunteers and their grateful to the community that supports this house.”
On the outside, the Ronald McDonald House may seem like your average volunteer organization, what many don’t know is that the Ronald McDonald House actually collaborates and partners with several other businesses to promote a friendly and active environment for their temporary visitors.
The NASCAR Foundation has a very solidified collaboration with the Ronald McDonald House Organization, which has progressed throughout the years. These collaborations are typically manifested in events hosted by NASCAR, in which the Ronald McDonald House residents will be invited to attend. Benjamin Kropp, a NASCAR Foundation intern, said his experiences with the non-profit have left a strong impression on him.
“While I was working with the Ronald McDonald House this summer, it was really cool to see all the opportunities that they give for the kids and families that are staying with there,” Kropp said. “It was really cool to see them come out to our event and meet NASCAR drivers, go to a race, and do other types of activities and things that they just wouldn’t get to do otherwise.”
To donate or learn more about this organization, visit rmhc.org.