Ronald McDonald House (RMH) in Bangor was opened in 1983 as a place of “comfort, care and compassion” where families of children undergoing medical treatment can stay. Ronald McDonald House Charities Maine was established in 1989 and the house in Portland opened in 1995. In 2015, the three organizations merged. We welcomed their current Development Director Alicia Milne as our guest and speaker on May 14, 2019.
The Houses are each walking distance from major medical facilities so families can remain close to their children while they undergo treatment.  Portland can house up to 21 families a night and Bangor up to 14 families a night. Portland is now expanding into an adjacent home and will be able to welcome up to 36 families a night by the end of this calendar year.
Last year, 570 families stayed in one of the RMH Maine rooms. These families can stay as long as they need to - there is no cap. The average stay is about 12 nights.  The cost per night is about $75 and families are asked to make a suggested donation of $10 per night to help defray costs, if they can. About 70% of families cannot afford even this small amount. 
Families come from every Maine county, but also come from other states and even other countries. Aroostook County is the origin of more families than any other locale. Families may be in Maine on vacation when a child is taken ill and many local doctors do pro-bono work for international patients (as has been done for Gift of Life through Rotary).
McDonald’s Restaurants are a “mission partner” of the Houses.  They periodically run in-store fundraisers where all funds raised in Maine stay in Maine.  There is also a grants program that is funded by McDonalds Corporation.
While the Houses have a small number of employees like the office manager and the house managers, volunteers are key to keep the Houses running.  Volunteers can be found working from 9AM-9PM Monday-Thursday and 9AM to 6PM on Fridays. Guest chef volunteers make dinner every night and on holidays, as well as breakfast on Saturdays and Sundays.  These volunteers also spend time with the families.
There are many opportunities to help the Houses. Volunteers are always needed for a variety of tasks. You can find out more by visiting their website or by visiting a House to tour the facility.
Thanks to all who brought in items from the May 2019 Wish List and for saving your can tabs.  The monthly Wish List can always be found at if you’d like to help further.