Home Away from Home
The Ronald McDonald House of Western Michigan’s (RMHWM) mission is to provide families of children and youth seeking medical and mental health treatment in the Grand Rapids Community with no-cost accommodations to provide a “home-away-from-home” experience. The program helps support families with accommodations such as, temporary housing, meals, transportation, laundry, and more. Families are invited to stay at the house until their child is discharged from the hospital, which can range from a few days to over a year. The RMHWM can host 17 families each night, roughly 35-45 people.
The Community Impact Fund, the Kellogg Youth Fund, and the Missy and Doug LaBelle Family Foundation Community Impact Fund, all endowed funds of the Mt. Pleasant Community Foundation, made a grant to the RMHWM to provide support to Isabella County families requiring hospitalization of a child. Each night at the house costs an estimated $125 in lodging alone, a cost that no family pays. Although there is a waitlist, due to the urgency or unexpected nature of hospital trips, the RMHWM is unable to plan exactly how many families will utilize their services during any given time. This has caused the RMHWM to plan long term and use a three year average to predict future costs.
Not only does this program help reduce financial strain, 50% of families that stayed at the RMHWM said they were able to make meaningful connections with other families and staff at the house. The RMHWM plans to continue supporting families across Michigan by providing a no-cost option so that they may focus on what is most important— their child’s health.