Frequently Asked Questions


If you have a question not
addressed here, you may email us
at mail@rmhlongisland.org or phone
Lisa O'Neil, Resident Manager
at (516) 775-5683, ext. 137.
Who does The Ronald McDonald House of Long Island serve?

The number of families staying at the House each year varies depending upon length of stay and type of treatment. In 2010, the House served 868 families: 729 were from the local area, 87 from other states across the country and 52 from countries in the Caribbean, Europe, South and Central America, the Middle East, Asia and Africa. The House takes part in a number of excellent local and international outreach efforts.

Approximately 80% of the children whose families are referred to us are treated at the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York (currently with 154 beds), a two-minute walk from the House. Opened in 1983, it is the New York Metropolitan area's only facility designed exclusively for children as a regional, tertiary care children's hospital. The hospital is a leading regional resource providing specialized health services for acutely and chronically sick newborns, children and adolescents in both inpatient and outpatient settings. About 20% of the children served by the House are treated in other area hospitals.

Families are referred to the House through a hospital's social work department. A triage approach is used with consideration given to the severity of the child's illness, the availability of bedside sleeping arrangements for parents (particularly in pediatric units), length of stay and the family's ability to travel to and from the hospital. As a 42-bedroom facility at this moment, more rooms are available to sick children who need to stay near the hospital to recover from a major surgery or for outpatient treatments.

How is The Ronald McDonald House of Long Island staffed?

The House is currently staffed by an Executive Director, Director of Fund Raising Operations, Operations Manager, House Manager, Development Officer, Public Relations & Marketing Coordinator, Accounting Manager, Facilities Manager, Program & Volunteer Coordinator, Executive/Development Assistant and a housekeeping staff.

The staff is assisted by a number of part-time employees and by a dedicated group of 120 volunteers from the local community who do the bulk of the administrative tasks, greeting visitors, answering telephones and providing transportation for the families.

Groups of specialized volunteers help us in a variety of ways: members of the Speakers' Bureau represent the House at schools and other organizations, Hospitality representatives visit our residents and their children in the hospitals and Auxiliaries hold their own fundraisers developing programs to attract community involvement. These are major initiatives and accomplishment of the House. The Dinner Program has successfully engaged many philanthropic organizations, schools and corporations to provide five to seven meals per week for the families. With the "Little Hands Helping Little Hands" program, initiated to educate younger children about the benefits of giving back to the community, supervised groups bake treats in our kitchens. Other organizations and volunteers also donate freshly baked breads twice a week and cookies and cakes on a daily basis for the residents. Community-driven programs contribute toward a fully stocked pantry, toiletries in each room and special welcome gifts for the families.

How is The Ronald McDonald House of Long Island funded?

The Ronald McDonald House of Long Island must cover its operating expenses through private donations and contributions. The House runs a number of ongoing fundraising campaigns: donor acknowledgement programs (Walk of Love, Tree of Love, Heart Wall), an year end appeal as well as a number of annual Special Events. Fund raising efforts have resulted in financial support from foundations, corporations, elected officials and individuals as well as in-kind donations of important goods and services.

What is the relationship between McDonald's Corporation and The Ronald McDonald House of Long Island?

The relationship between the House and McDonald's is two-fold. On a local level, the McDonald's New York Tri-State Owner/ Operators organization plays a major role in the House.

They guaranteed half of the original mortgage. In 1994, they rescued the House with a $200,000 gift to correct drainage problems that had caused a major flood. In 1996, they contributed more than $100,000 toward a much-needed renovation project; in 2001, they committed $1.8 million to the expansion of the facility.

The Tri-State Owner/ Operators also help promote many House fundraising events, such as the Annual Lloyd Frazier Memorial Golf & Tennis Outing and the Annual Polo Event. In addition, six Owner/Operators are members of our Board of Directors.

On a national level, the Ronald McDonald House Charities, based in Oak Brook, Illinois, give each newly-established House $25,000 seed money as well as the license to use its name. It also provides a host of administrative services and operating standards any secured support from national donors. Examples of such donors are Coca Cola, which provides beverages to the Houses nationwide and Select Comfort, a company that supplies bedding and mattresses.

Our relationship with McDonald's is crucial. They are a valued partner of the House and we are thankful for their support. However, the majority of the operating budget is our responsibility. Our funds are sustained through fundraisers, legislative grants and the generosity of the community.

Where did the idea for The Ronald McDonald Houses originate?

The first Ronald McDonald House opened in October 1974, as the result of the perseverance and dedication of Fred Hill, a former Philadelphia Eagles football player. After Hill's daughter, Kim, was treated for Leukemia, he and his teammates were determined to do something to benefit families of hospitalized children. A joint effort by the Eagles and Philadelphia area McDonald's restaurant owners raised enough money to build the first Ronald McDonald House in Philadelphia.

The Ronald McDonald House of Long Island House is the 100th House of 309 Ronald McDonald House programs around the world in 30 countries - 166 are in the United States. Each House is an independent, not-for-profit 501(c)(3) corporation responsible for raising its own funds and maintaining the operation of the facility under the leadership of a volunteer Board of Directors.

Who can stay?

Seriously ill or injured children who are 21 years of age and under who are receiving treatment at an area hospital, and their immediate family may be referred for residency at the House. Per the New York fire regulations, we can only accommodate up to 4 people per room.

How much does it cost?

The Ronald McDonald House of Long Island requests a small fee of $25 per night per room. This includes lodging, use of the kitchen and laundry facilities and on-site parking.

How to apply?

Families are referred to the House through a hospital's social work department. A triage approach is used with consideration given to the severity of the child's situation, the availability of bedside sleeping arrangements for parents, length of stay and the family's ability to travel to and from the hospital.

What is provided for families?

A typical room at RMH-LI consists of two full beds with a private bathroom, a dresser and closet, rocking chair and TV with DVD player. Linens and towels are provided. Residents are required to keep their rooms clean. WiFi service is available.

Are food and beverages available?

Upon check in at the House, residents are assigned kitchen space for their perishable and non-perishable items. A vending machine provides water and soft drinks; there is a coffee machine as well. While dinner is provided most nights by volunteers participating in the Dinner Program, residents may cook their own meals. They are responsible for cleaning up their area.

What are the hours of the House?

The House is accessible to families 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The office is opened 7 days a week from 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. Resident Managers and Weekend Resident Managers are available 24 hours for emergencies.

How long can a family stay at the House?

Families are allowed to stay as long as it is medically required. The eligibility to stay will be reviewed periodically.

Can families have visitors?

Visitors are welcome between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. There are other guidelines that visitors must follow; these will be given to the residents on checking in to the House.

Is there babysitting service?

No. Parents are responsible for their own children and must provide supervision at all times.

Is transportation provided?

A volunteer driver is available M-F, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., to accommodate transportation to airports and medical facilities. Arrangements must be made through the House Manager in advance.