Ronald McDonald House Charities- Supporting Families Everywhere


The Long Beach Ronald McDonald House

A photo of the Long Beach Ronald McDonald House, located on East 27th Street.

Katie Arnoult, Editor

All over the world, charities give their time and resources to help those in need. One such organization is Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC), which provides rooms to stay in, meals and other support for families with hospitalized children so they don’t have to pay hotel charges.

In Pennsylvania in 1974, Fred and Fran Hill’s daughter Kim was diagnosed with leukemia and had to stay in a children’s hospital for treatment. While being treated, her parents “often camped out on hospital chairs and benches and ate makeshift meals out of vending machines, all while watching other parents do the same,” according to the RMHC Albany, New York website. “They learned that many families traveled great distances to bring their children to the medical facility and couldn’t afford hotel rooms.”

Responding to this observation, the Hills began raising money. As a member of the Philadelphia Eagles football team, Mr. Hill was able to raise funds through his team members. Eventually, Don Tuckerman from a local McDonald’s advertising agency was contacted. McDonald’s created a new menu item, the St. Patrick’s Day Green Milkshake, now called the Shamrock Shake- it happened to be March at that time. A portion of its sales went to funding for the first ever Ronald McDonald House. Though McDonald’s has been a partner of RMHC  since it was founded, the charity is a non-profit organization.

There are 350 Houses across the United States, with over 260 Chapters. A Chapter is a regional group of Houses; for example, the Southern California Chapter. RMHC also has international Chapters in countries including Peru, Italy, Korea, Colombia, the United Kingdom, Fiji, Canada and numerous others.

A unique fact about RMHC is that they accept donations of pull-tabs, which are the tab tops of cans. Houses can recycle the pull-tabs for money, which benefits the charity. According to The Observer, a British online news publication, a pound of pull-tabs can be worth between 40 and 50 cents and it takes approximately 1,128 tabs to equal one pound. Despite this low amount, the RMHC of the Coastal Empire declares that their program “brings in an average of $6,000 each year” from pull-tab donations.

The McAuliffe ASB Community Service Committee is using an idea from this donation method and turned it into a schoolwide drive lasting three weeks in March. Fifth-period classes received collection bins where students can turn in pull-tab donations. The winning classes (first, second and third) of each week receive a popsicle or cookie party. All donations from the school will be given to the local Long Beach Ronald McDonald House.

Mrs. Acuna’s fifth-period class has been generously giving donations of pull-tabs for the drive, allowing them to have a spot as one of the leading classes in the competition. Acuna shares, “I know that some of my students have just been saving these tabs at home for years as a collection for no reason, just for fun. They were happy it had a purpose.” Though Acuna admits that she had not heard of RMHC prior to the pull-tab drive, she comments that what she likes most about it is that “it’s a worldwide charity dedicated to supporting families with sick children in their time of need. They’re also helping families in Ukraine.”

After going strong for 47 years, RMHC still continues to provide care and support to families with hospitalized children. The charity’s hard work has impacted and benefited many lives. It serves as an example that when a problem is at hand, it can be improved and solved to bring ease to those in difficult situations.