Giving Families A Helping Hand

By Jerri Chang
Wednesday - May 18, 2011 Share

By Jerri Chang, President
Ronald McDonald House Charities of Hawaii

Our two Ronald McDonald Houses work on a very personal level with client-families. After all, since these families with seriously ill or injured children are from the Neighbor Islands and elsewhere in the Pacific, and temporarily residing with us during the child’s medical treatments here in Honolulu, many of their challenges become ours.

The concept is simple. In concert with local children’s hospitals, which provide the required treatments, we strive to create a home-like atmosphere and support system for families, thus reducing the uncertainties that come along with being in an unfamiliar city while facing unfathomable circumstances. It means less stress for families and more time to guide their children through their difficult times.

Since we only ask the families to chip in $20 per day to help defray some of the costs, it also means staying at the Ronald McDonald House won’t add to their financial burden. No eligible family is turned away because they can’t afford the room contribution.

How do we do all this? Well, imagine your own household and what you need to get by. Think electricity, transportation, food, toilet paper, laundry detergent, then multiply that times 17, the number of families we can accommodate.

Transportation to and from the hospital for families is part of the assistance offered by Ronald McDonald House. Photo courtesy Ronald McDonald House of Hawaii

Just like your family, our families need a roof over their heads, a place to have their meals, a way to get around, somewhere to do laundry and the ability to pick up a phone or go online and communicate with anxious relatives back home. Parents staying with us often say that they are humbled when they realize that so many people they don’t even know have anticipated their needs and established a place of respite and support.

Truth is, virtually none of the families we assist ever expected to see their children fall seriously ill or be traumatically injured. Unforeseen things happen in life, but it is a compassionate and involved society that takes care of its own.

To learn more about RMHC-HI and how you can help, please visit

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