Interview with Ronald McDonald House Charities’ New Communications Director

FTC Disclosure: I am a McDonald’s of Central Arkansas brand ambassador, cialis sale but all opinions and thoughts here are my own.

Ronald McDonald House

The Ronald McDonald House (RMH) serves as a home away from home for families of children being treated at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. I recently had the opportunity to chat with Paul Henry, cheapest the new communications director for RMH Charities of Arkansas, stomach about his transition to RMH and all the exciting things happening there.

Paul Henry

Paul, how did your job Ronald McDonald House come about? When the company where I had been working for 14 years decided to merge with another, my position was eliminated and my future changed. I took a few months off to enjoy my family and to take time finding the right job for me. On the very same morning of the day I knew I was going to receive a job offer, I got a text from someone asking me if I knew of anyone who might be interested in a grant writing and communications position at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Arkansas. I decided that while it will be more difficult financially for me and my family, the benefits of being able to work for a greater good each day was where I had to be.

Explain how RMH is connected to the local McDonald’s in our area.  McDonald’s is our largest corporate sponsor. In addition to providing their own financial support, the local owner/operators allow RMHC to have donation boxes at each McDonald’s location. These boxes encourage McDonald’s patrons to donate their change to the House as they pay for their meals. In order to best serve our families and grow, we must rely on the support of the entire community. We greatly value any donations from other local companies, groups and individuals. Ronald McDonald House family heart

How does the Ronald McDonald House support community programs that serve the needs of children in Arkansas? RMHCA has two core programs: the Ronald McDonald House (RMH) and the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile®. The 28 bedroom House provides a home away from home to families who have a child receiving treatment at an area hospital, particularly Arkansas Children’s Hospital. In addition to a place to stay, the RMH provides dinner every night, laundry facilities and many supplies. Studies show that children cope better and heal faster when they have family close by. While RMHCA cannot make medicine taste better or take away painful treatments, we provide a private place to stay each night and the little things that are otherwise easily taken for granted—warm meals, a hot shower, a play space, and friendly faces to come home to after a long day. The program has served more than 30,000 families in 35 years from every county in the state and all over the world.Ronald McDonald Care MobileOur second core program, the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile (RMCM) provides free dental care and educational services to Arkansas’ underserved children in their own neighborhoods. This 40-foot, state-of-the-art, fully equipped mobile dental clinic has an on-board team consisting of a dentist and two assistants. The Care Mobile offers full service dental care including exams, x-rays, sealants, restorations (fillings), pediatric crowns, pulpotomies (baby tooth root canals), extractions and other preventative and restorative care. A treatment plan is designed for each patient, which usually involves more than one procedure. Since the program’s inception in April 2009, more than 76% of the children seen in the RMCM clinic had never seen a dentist before—this was their first dental visit.

The families that benefit from the services of the Ronald McDonald House have children receiving treatment at area hospitals, primarily Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH). We care for about 900 families annually and, this year, expect to provide almost 10,000 nights of lodging.  A family’s average stay is 21 days, but many stay for several months, and others return to the hospital (and House) repeatedly over a number of years during treatment. Families are referred to the House by hospitals and must live 45-minutes or 50-miles outside of Little Rock for eligibility.  RMHCA has served families from dozens of states, U.S. territories and other countries. Last year, 85 % of our families were from Arkansas, and we served families from every county in the state. 

Valentines 2016

Now that the Chocolate Ball is past, what is the next big event to benefit the RMH? While we will have smaller events throughout the year, the next three larger events are Pop Tab Pandemonium in April, Lovin’ for RMHC in May, and our annual Ronald McDonald Golf Classic in September. 

What’s the status of the “Where Hope Has A Home” Capital Campaign? The “Where Hope Has A Home” capital campaign is doing quite well, but we still have a little more to go. Thanks to generous donors, $8.3 million has been committed to the project, including the very generous lead gift of $1,000,000 given by McDonald’s. We need at least $450,000 more to fulfill the budget needs. If an individual or business would like to sponsor a portion of the new house, there are naming rights still available. Their generosity would ripple through the lives of families in need for decades to come. New Ronald McDonald House

It was really enlightening visiting with Paul. I have such a better grasp on the mission of Ronald McDonald House Charities now. I hope you learned a bunch too. If you want to know more or get involved with volunteering or financial support, visit their website.