Mission momentum during COVID-19

July 15, 2020 — Update from the CEO

At Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Capital Region (RMHC-CR) we remain focused on our core mission – improving the health and well-being of children and families – during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our highest priority is the health and well-being of the families we serve, the staff and volunteers who carry out our mission, and the Capital Region community in which we operate.

Three hospital workers stand wearing face masks with the RMHC-CR Hospitality Cart

Since mid-March, we have made significant changes to our program operations in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while continuing to support every family in need of our services. As of this update, we are:

  • Gradually re-opening the Ronald McDonald House – Typically, the House serves as a home away from home for up to 25 families a night. Due to the pandemic, we were unable to welcome new guest families from March 13 through the end of June. Instead, we committed to providing local hotel accommodations, meal gift cards and other resources to support families with sick children during this challenging time. As we happily resume admitting families to the House in limited numbers, we recognize that many will continue to be best served by hotel accommodations under the current circumstances. We are now working on multiple fronts to ensure that all families can stay safely together while their children receive critical care.
  • Preparing to reinstate services at the Ronald McDonald Family Room – Located inside the Bernard & Millie Duker Children’s Hospital at Albany Med, the Family Room usually serves more than 25 families every day. When our traditional program was suspended due to COVID-19, we repurposed the space for hospital personnel to use for their own respite and comfort. We also kept the RMHC-CR Hospitality Cart in service with the help of Child Life Specialists at Albany Med. The cart continues to deliver coffee, snacks, comfort items and other resources to children, families and health care workers as we prepare to re-open the Family Room to a limited degree as early as the first week of August.
  • Considering the best path forward for the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile – For thirteen years, St. Peters Health Partners Dental Center has partnered with RMHC-CR to provide free dental care to children throughout the Capital Region. The Care Mobile is normally a welcome sight at 13 local schools, equipped with two fully-functioning dental offices to deliver comprehensive care that helps to improve each child’s overall health. With the closure of schools across the state during the pandemic, our Care Mobile program has been suspended indefinitely. We are working in close coordination with our partners to determine how to safely resume services at the appropriate time.

COVID-19 has presented unprecedented challenges for all of us. We will keep learning and adapting as this situation evolves, always acting in the best interests of the children and families we serve.

Mother and baby in hospital during COVID-19 pandemic

As an organization that relies entirely on local volunteers and donors, COVID-19 has had a significant impact on our bottom line. We have incurred significant expenses to provide hotel accommodations, meals, and other assistance to families throughout the pandemic. Please consider making a donation to support our mission so that we can continue to be there for every family who needs us.

As always, we are grateful to the RMHC-CR Board of Directors, our partners at the Bernard & Millie Duker Children’s Hospital at Albany Med and St. Peter’s Health Partners Dental Center, and the many corporate partners and community members who generously support our work. Children are still facing serious illnesses every day and we are supporting them and their families in creative, new ways. Thank you for your continued support.