Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Florida (RMHCCF) has reopened its three houses in Orlando on the campuses of AdventHealth for Children, Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, Orlando Health Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies, and Nemours Children’s Hospital after closing doors on July 3.
Due to the increase in cases of COVID-19 since March, RMHCCF had to pause accepting new families into the houses for the health and safety of guest families and staff. However, cases of childhood illness did not cease even during a pandemic, and a small number of families with critically ill children remained at the Ronald McDonald Houses, where COVID-19 protocols were put into place. The houses closed in July due to confirmed positive cases of COVID-19, but the guest families were relocated to local hotels at no cost to them – RMHCFF incurred the costs of their stays.
After seeing a consistent decline in the number of COVID-19 cases in Orange County over the past several weeks and with the assistance of RMHCCF’s partner hospitals, state and local officials, and RMHC Global, RMHCCF will reopen all three of its houses with modifications to operations and at a limited capacity.
The houses will welcome families back in phases, beginning with a limited number of house guests who had been moved to local hotels during the closure.
“Providing a safe environment for our guest families is our top priority,” says Lou Ann DeVoogd, president and CEO of RMHCCF. “Our houses look different than prior to COVID-19; however, with smiling eyes above our masks, we will welcome our guest families back in their time of need as they care for their child in the hospital.”
Although the houses are reopening, all RMHCCF volunteer programs continue to be on hold until further notice, including the Share-A-Meal program that provides lunch and dinner for families at all three Ronald McDonald Houses in Orlando with the help of community volunteers.
RMHCCF is in urgent need of community support to continue providing care for families with a child facing a serious illness. Supporters can make a donation online to underwrite the cost of a family stay and/or a meal. Gift cards to local restaurants and grocery stores are also needed. For more information, please visit www.rmhccf.org.
Photos Courtesy of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Florida