COAST CITIES — More than 1,000 volunteers held out oversized red boots at 130 street corners in San Diego County to collect donations for the San Diego Ronald McDonald House on June 28.
More than 25 of the collection sites were in North County.
“It’s the most productive area in the county for us as far as contributions,” Chuck Day, president and CEO of Ronald McDonald House San Diego, said.
Volunteer Greg Barth and his son and daughter were soliciting donations at the corner of Leucadia Boulevard and Coast Highway 101.
Barth said his motivation to volunteer is his sister’s use of the Ronald McDonald House in Hawaii when she had difficulty during her pregnancy.
“We’re paying it forward,” he said. “She used the Ronald McDonald House for almost a month.”
Other volunteers on Leucadia Boulevard and Garden View Road were volunteering as part of a companywide effort.
“The UPS store owner works with Ronald McDonald House,” volunteer and UPS employee John Scott said.
“Awareness is key for us,” Day said. “We want the community to know us as an independent nonprofit organization.”
The San Diego Ronald McDonald House is a 47-room hotel that shelters, feeds and counsels families of ill and injured children receiving medical care at Rady Children’s Hospital. The facility sits on the seventh floor of the parking structure adjacent to the hospital and allows families to stay close to their children at little or no cost.
“We have very nicely appointed rooms with two queen-size beds,” Day said. “We
operate it like a hotel.”
The San Diego Ronald McDonald House serves 1,765 families a year. Most stay for 10 days. Some stay for 160 days.
Three daily meals are served in a common dining area. There are also small kitchenettes in each room.
The Ronald McDonald House also provides family referral services, food, a gym and shower facilities for any family visiting the hospital.
“We provide a respite from the hospital and support families with a day program,” Day said. “The 280 volunteers are key to the function of the house. They’re very, very positive folks.”
Ten percent of facility operations are funded by McDonald’s food sales. The remaining operation funds are raised by the facility.
The annual San Diego fundraiser brought in $98,000 last year and is expected to raise $130,000 this year.
There are 175 Ronald McDonald Houses in the United States and 315 worldwide. Each house is run as an independent nonprofit.
The first Ronald McDonald House was established in Philadelphia in 1974.
The San Diego Ronald McDonald House opened in 1980.