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What We Do

We give children what they need most – their families

Helping a sick child fight their illness takes a big enough emotional toll on a family. Adding a financial strain can make it all almost too much to bear. RMHC CTX can help address those problems, whether they involve providing housing that’s near a hospitalized child, the expense of staying together in another city, providing a place to rest within the hospital, offering a complimentary treat while families wait by their child’s bedside, or helping families who have lost a child. Our programs include:

ronald mcdonald house lobby seating areas

Ronald McDonald House

Our House is a “home-away-from-home” for families so they can stay close by their hospitalized child at little to no cost.

Family Room at Seton Medical Center Austin

Family Rooms

Our Ronald McDonald Family Rooms offer a place to rest and regroup right at the hospital, just moments away from their sick child.

Healing Hearts Program garden

Healing Hearts

The HOPE Support Group of Healing Hearts provides free bereavement support to help families that have experienced perinatal and infant loss.

Happy Wheels Cart with volunteers

Happy Wheels Carts

Designed to support families with hospitalized children, the Happy Wheels Carts stroll the hospital hallways and provide comfort as parents focus on their children.

Since 1985, RMHC CTX addresses these needs every day with the help of thousands of volunteers, partnerships with medical communities around the world, relationships with respected companies and a community of generous donors. We couldn’t do it without all of you.

Frequent Questions

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Texas FAQs

How is Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Texas funded?
RMHC CTX is solely operated with funds raised through donations made by individuals, organizations and corporations in the communities we serve.

How can I support RMHC CTX?

  • Share Your Time – There are different volunteer opportunities including preparing or providing meals at the Ronald McDonald House or catering a meal at a Ronald McDonald Family Room; helping with administrative tasks at the House; volunteering your time at a Family Room or strolling a Happy Wheels Cart through the hospital; or helping at a special event. Learn more by visiting our Volunteer Page.
  • Share Your Talent  – We are always in need of specialized skills. From graphic design, technical support or web analysis, we rely on volunteers to help and guide us so we can effectively support our families. Contact us at info@rmhc-ctx.org if you would like to share your specialized skill.
  • Share Your Treasure – Your financial support will help families who rely on the Ronald McDonald House, Ronald McDonald Family Rooms, Happy Wheels Carts or Healing Hearts program. You can help support RMHC CTX by hosting a fundraising event, providing Wish List items or making a donation.

Ronald McDonald House FAQs

Who is eligible to stay at the Ronald McDonald House®?

Families with seriously ill or injured children, from birth to 21, who are receiving treatment in an Austin-area hospital and live 25 miles or more away from the Ronald McDonald House (1315 Barbara Jordan Blvd.) are eligible.

How can I stay at the Ronald McDonald House?

Contact the social work or case management department at the hospital where your child will receive treatment. They will make a referral for accommodations at the Ronald McDonald House. Families will receive a telephone call from our office upon receipt of the referral. If approved, the patient’s name will be placed on the waiting list for the intended day of arrival. Because each child’s treatment is unique, a family’s stay at the House is unpredictable. Therefore, RMHC CTX is unable to confirm room requests until 24 hours prior to arrival. The maximum length of stay at the Ronald McDonald House is based on room demand and family circumstance.

RMHC CTX conducts a formal criminal history background check on all individuals applying for temporary residence at RMHC CTX. The safety of all Ronald McDonald House (RMH) families is very important to us. RMHC CTX reserves the right to refuse admittance to any potential resident or guest with a criminal conviction. RMHC CTX does not admit anyone with a criminal felony conviction that may threaten the health, safety, welfare, and ability of other individuals to peacefully enjoy the RMH (e.g., violent crimes, domestic violence, child abuse, sex offenses, illegal drug activity, burglary and/or theft). RMHC CTX also will not admit any individual who provides false, incomplete, or misleading responses during the formal criminal history background check. RMHC CTX also reserves the right to expel a guest for any other inappropriate, irresponsible, or criminal behavior that takes place while temporarily residing at the RMH.

How much does it cost to stay at the Ronald McDonald House?
Although the actual cost to provide a room is $100 per night, RMHC CTX asks for a suggested donation of $20 per night per family. The first night’s donation is requested upon check-in. No family is ever turned away due to an inability to pay. If a family is eligible for Medicaid, it will often cover a family’s stay. Eligible families must contact the Medicaid office to request that Medicaid reimburse RMHC CTX for your stay.

What are the hours of the Ronald McDonald House?
The House is accessible to families 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

How big is the Ronald McDonald House?
The Ronald McDonald House has 30 guest rooms and each room accommodates up to six people. The House also has a full kitchen, laundry facilities, Internet access, playground and indoor play area for children, a fitness facility and lounge area.

Are meals provided?
Volunteers provide daily lunch and dinner for our families and occasionally breakfasts. Daily meals are not guaranteed. The Ronald McDonald House also has one communal refrigerator and one guest refrigerator and a dedicated pantry where guests can store their own food.

What if I have transportation issues and can’t get to the hospital where my child is staying?
RMHC CTX provides bus passes, available upon request, to families in need of transportation. Capital Metro Route 37 runs from the corner of Lancaster and Barbara Jordan Blvd. to stops at both St. David’s Medical Center and Dell Seton Medical Center at the University of Texas. Taxi Vouchers can also be provided for families with children receiving treatment at facilities not located near a bus route.

How long can families stay at the Ronald McDonald House?
Families can stay at the House for up to 30 consecutive days. After 30 days, the family may be asked to check out for one week, depending on the occupancy status of the House. If the child is still in the hospital and the family is still in need of a room, they can be referred again for a guest room. All guest stays are reviewed after each 30-day period.

How Can I support the Ronald McDonald House?

  • Share your Story: We enjoy hearing stories about how RMHC CTX made a difference for your family or a family you may know while the child was in the hospital. Personal stories help educate our community about how we support families.
  • Help Other Families with Hospitalized Children: Your financial support helps other families who rely on the Ronald McDonald House during their children’s treatment.
  • Connect with Us: We always like to hear from our families and would like to include you on our newsletter mailing list.  To be added to our mailing list, please email, info@rmhc-ctx.org. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter for real time updates.

Ronald McDonald Family Room FAQs

Where are the Ronald McDonald Family Rooms located?
RMHC CTX has Family Rooms located in Austin at Dell Children’s Medical Center, St. David’s North Austin Medical Center and St. David’s Medical Center, Seton Medical Center Austin and in the Brazos Valley at CHI St. Joseph Health Regional Hospital and College Station Medical Center. Families can relax and have a snack or drink, use the computers, watch television and meet other parents and volunteers.

Who is eligible to use the Ronald McDonald Family Rooms®?
All families with children, ages 21 and under, who have a hospitalized child in the pediatric or neonatal intensive care units at Dell Children’s Medical Center, St. David’s North Austin Medical Center, St. David’s Medical Center, Seton Medical Center Austin, CHI St. Joseph Health Regional Hospital or College Station Medical Center in Bryan, TX.  For additional information or to learn more, please click here.

What services does a Ronald McDonald Family Room provide?

The Central Texas Ronald McDonald Family Rooms provide various services including:

  • Kitchen area with a microwave and refrigerator
  • Living room area seating area with a television
  • Shower facilities
  • Sleeping rooms
  • Laundry facilities, including washers, dryers and laundry detergent
  • Computers with Internet access
  • Children’s play areas
  • Tranquility room at Seton Medical Center Austin

How much does it cost to use the Ronald McDonald Family Rooms?
There is no charge to use the Family Rooms.

Is it possible to spend the night in a Ronald McDonald Family Room?
Yes, sleeping rooms are located at all Ronald McDonald Family Rooms. Families must direct inquiries about accommodations to the hospital social workers or charge nurse.

How can I support the Ronald McDonald Family Room in my community?
Whether you want to cater a meal at a Family Room, donate individually wrapped snacks or laundry detergent, volunteer to staff the room, or make a cash donation, there are many ways you can help. Visit our Ronald McDonald Family Room page or contact our Family Room Manager to learn more.

Healing Hearts

What is the Healing Heart Program and how can it help my family?

Healing Hearts is a burial assistance and bereavement support program provided by RMHC CTX to help families after they have lost a child.

How do I apply for financial assistance with Healing Hearts?

  • The hospital Chaplain or social worker must complete an online Burial Assistance Fund Request to RMHC CTX.
  • The family meets with the funeral home of their choice and signs a contract for services.
  • The family must request the funeral home to fax contract showing unpaid balances to RMHC CTX at (512) 472-5465.
  • If approved, and if funds are still available for the month, RMHC CTX will mail the a portion of the balance to the Funeral Home.

How do I join a bereavement support group?
In Austin, RMHC CTX works with Jessica McDaniel, an end-of-life and bereavement counselor, to provide ongoing bereavement support services. For Brazos Valley families, RMHC CTX partners with Hospice Brazos Valley and Mending Hearts Grief Center. Both groups provide a safe place for parents to discuss their loss, help them make meaning of their loss, and, eventually, find peace. For more information or to register in Austin, email at healinghearts@rmhc-ctx.org. For more information  in the Brazos Valley, email info@rmhc-ctx.org.

What are the memorial gardens?

To honor the life of a child, RMHC CTX presents families who have participated in the bereavement support group with an engraved river rock. The rocks are placed in a tranquil memory garden at the Ronald McDonald House in Austin and at the Rose Garden at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in College Station. The river rocks are generously donated by Carved Stone, Inc., T&L Stones and Aggieland Grass and Stone.

Happy Wheels Carts

What are the Happy Wheels Carts?

The Happy Wheels Carts stroll the hospital hallways bringing complimentary items to families waiting by their child’s bedside.

Which hospitals have Happy Wheels Carts?

The carts stroll the hallways of CHI St. Joseph Health Regional Hospital in Bryan, TX, College Station Medical Center and Baylor Scott & White Medical Center in College Station, TX and at Dell Children’s Medical Center and St. David’s Children’s Hospital in Austin, TX.

What items are on the carts?

A variety of items distributed to families include juice, water, snacks, coloring books, small toys and toiletries.

How are the Happy Wheel Cart items obtained?

Many of the items distributed from the Happy Wheels Carts are in-kind donations from our generous community. Supporters will often host Wish List drives to collect items.

How can I donate items for the Happy Wheels Carts?

Please refer to our Happy Wheels Cart Wish List for the most needed items. For more information about Austin-area Happy Wheels Carts, contact our Family Room Manager at pduke@rmhc-ctx.org.

For Brazos Valley Happy Wheels Carts, please contact our Brazos Valley Volunteer Manager at scashion@rmhc-ctx.org.

How do I sign up to volunteer to stroll the Happy Wheels Carts?

For Austin, please contact our Family Room Manager at pduke@rmhc-ctx.org.

For Brazos Valley hospitals, please contact our Brazos Valley Volunteer Manager at scashion@rmhc-ctx.org.