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Jamie and Joey Straza served as honorary chairs of the annual ROMP Gala to benefit San Diego’s Ronald McDonald House, while daughter Julia was on the gala executive committee. Courtesy photo
Community Community News Rancho Santa Fe

Ranch residents serve as honorary chairs of ROMP Gala

The Ronald McDonald House enables families to stay together while a child requires medical attention. During a time of both upheaval and stress, this haven provides families a sense of comfort for when they need it most. One Rancho Santa Fe couple’s passion for the San Diego’s Ronald McDonald House is unparalleled.

Jamie and Goesef (Joey) Straza were chosen as the honorary chairs for the Sept. 29 Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego’s annual ROMP Gala. The roaring 1920s-inspired evening was held at The Pendry Hotel in San Diego.

“We feel honored by this and love supporting a great cause that is dear to us,” Jamie Straza said.

More than 350 supporters united to take part in the evening.

Jamie Straza has a longstanding history with McDonald’s. She opened her first restaurant in 1995. Today, she owns and operates four McDonald franchises.

“I started volunteering at the San Diego Ronald McDonald House when I was 17 and was working as a manager at McDonald’s,” she said. “I helped serve dinners to families, and we would host a holiday party every year for the families using Ronald McDonald House’s services. I knew back then that this was an amazing organization that I wanted to support, but it was when I became a mother that it really resonated with me in a bigger way.”

The Ronald McDonald House offers a place of respite for families whose children are hospitalized and receiving medical care. Be it a shower, a hot meal or a nap, the Ronald McDonald fills an emotional and physical gap while keeping families together through the toughest of times.

“The Ronald McDonald House is a special place,” Joey Straza said. “When a child gets sick and needs to be hospitalized, it affects the entire family. Having a place where mom, dad and siblings can be close to the sick child is critical in their recovery and healing.”

According to Jamie Straza, the ROMP goal every year is to raise as much money as possible to fund operations for the 55-bedroom house that serves 14,000 family members with sick children each year.

“This year, ROMP supporters will lead the way in renovating the heart of San Diego’s Ronald McDonald House — the kitchen and dining room,” Jamie Straza said. “We’re grateful for every dollar raised.”

The couple also shared how their three children have grown up personally involved with the Ronald McDonald House. In fact, for the 2018 ROMP gala, their teenage daughter Julia was on the executive committee.

“She loves it and loves supporting the house,” Joey Straza said.

Community support is essential so that the Ronald McDonald House can continue to thrive. Jamie explained that many people think that the Ronald McDonald House is funded by McDonald’s. 

And part of that is right.

“Although the local restaurant franchisees do support the house, 90 percent of the funding comes from the community,” she said. “That is why it is so important for all of us to support this great organization.”