SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV)— Kevin and Laura had their baby Victoria Blake at only 24 weeks. She was only 16 ounces.
In order to stay closer to their newborn while she gained her strength, the Ronald McDonald House of the Coastal Empire stepped in to help the family stay together.
“It gave us not only a place where we could sleep at night but a place that was like a home away from home where we could come over when we couldn’t be in the NICU and take a break or take a shower or grab a snack. I mean it was absolutely priceless,” Laura said.
They credit the Ronald McDonald House Charities for the reason they were able to get through the hard moments.
“We were there for one hundred and twenty-seven days,” Kevin said. “It was a lifesaver. Blake was never ever alone and we were able to do that because of the Ronald McDonald House.”
Now, the charity is expanding its efforts to help even more families stay together.
This week, McDonald’s launched Round-Up, a new technology that makes it easier for customers to donate by giving them the option to round up their purchase to the nearest whole dollar.
“So we thought, what better way to make it easy for customers just to round up to the next dollar,” McDonald’s owner Nina Gompels said. “So whether you’re buying something for four dollars and thirty cents and round it up to five dollars and seventy cents goes to the Ronald House.”
Gompels says since people are going paperless, it’s an easy way to donate to a good cause, and every penny makes a difference. Every Round-Up donation made in the Coastal Empire helps families locally.
Last year, RMHC of the Coastal Empire:
- Cared for over 6,200 families with sick children across its three core programs which include:
- The Ronald McDonald House, Two Ronald McDonald Family Rooms, and it’s Ronald McDonald Care Mobile, which provides free dental exams and preventive treatments to under-served school children (ages 3 to 11) in Beaufort, Jasper and Hampton Counties in South Carolina.
- Provided nearly 5,000 free nights to families with sick children
- Provided dental treatments for 2,700 children seeing a dentist for the first time
- This is all made possible, in part, through the spare change collected from generous customer donations in McDonald’s restaurants.
- In the past 20 years, local McDonald’s owner-operators and customers have donated over $2 million to RMHC of the Coastal Empire.
The new technology allows customers in our increasingly cashless society to Round-Up for RMHC at the digital self-order kiosk and the front counter, all-year-round, regardless of what payment method they prefer.
Customers simply select the “Round-Up for RMHC” button at checkout on the kiosks or let the cashier at the front counter know they would like to Round-Up their purchase.
“At McDonald’s, we know the importance of bringing families together. For over 45 years, McDonald’s, our franchisees and our customers have been proud supporters of Ronald McDonald House Charities,” said Chris Kempczniski, McDonald’s President and Chief Executive Officer.
“As a founding mission partner of the Charity, McDonald’s remains committed to leveraging the size and scale of our restaurants to promote and raise money to support the growth of the Charity.”
- Ninety-two cents: can help allow a parent to read a bedtime story to their sick child
- Forty-two cents: can help provide 10-minutes for a family to sing together
- Twenty-one cents: can help ensure five minutes of laughter with the entire family
“We could not achieve our mission of providing families a place to stay while their child undergoes medical treatment without support from the community and corporate partners like McDonald’s,” said Sheila Musolino, president, and CEO, RMHC.
“Round-Up for RMHC will support the expansion of core programs and services to help families find strength and comfort when they need it most.”
It costs an average of $80 a night to house a family; in 2018, RMHC provided more than 2.5 million overnight stays in communities around the world, saving families over $930 million in food and lodging costs.
“With every cent donated to RMHC, McDonald’s customers are providing families something priceless, time together, and we cannot thank them enough for their support and generosity,” said Nina Gompels, McDonald’s Owner Operator who sits on the board of directors for Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Coastal Empire.