Tami’s Blog: What the Pandemic Hasn’t Changed at RMHC-KC

Amarissa and her mom Ashley. Rylan and his parents, Sarah and Ryan. Axlyn and her mom Rachael. Valentina and her parents Denisse and Daniel.

Denisse and Valentina, one of the families RMHC-KC has served during the pandemic

These are just a few of the children and families who have stayed with us at our Ronald McDonald Houses in Kansas City during the COVID-19 pandemic.

So many places have closed over the last three months: restaurants, businesses, places of worship, gyms, schools, just to name a few. But our Ronald McDonald Houses in Kansas City never did. We stayed open, serving Amarissa, Rylan, Axlyn, Valentina and hundreds of other kids and families, because childhood illness doesn’t take a break during a global pandemic. And now more than ever, sick children have needed their families by their side.

We never closed—but we did start operating differently. Three months ago, we stopped admitting new families into our Houses, but we continued serving the families who were in our Ronald McDonald Houses at that time. We also started renting nearby hotel rooms so new RMHC-KC families could still be with their sick children. To date, we’ve served more than 400 families through this hotel service, renting almost 3,000 nights. It’s been expensive, but worth it: nothing matters more than keeping families together when their kids are seriously ill.

And now that we’ve formalized our new, COVID-specific operating procedures, we’re bringing more families back into our Ronald McDonald Houses.

Bit by bit, we’re bringing families and kids back into our Houses in stages—pausing along the way to be certain that we’re maintaining the highest standards of care, hospitality, health, safety, and service. During this phased approach, we continue to rent hotel rooms, with a limit of 80 families total to be served each night, counting our combined House and hotel census.

As you can imagine, we desperately need and miss our volunteers! So after we have successfully gone through a few “rounds” of admitting new families back into our Houses, we will welcome our volunteers back with open arms.

The pandemic has changed many things, for all of us: our work, our lives, our time. But the things that haven’t changed are the most important ones of all: the priority of family, the value of the ones we love, and the importance of being together during hard times. At Ronald McDonald House Charities of Kansas City, we never lose sight of the most important things. And we’ll continue to keep families close to their sick kids, no matter what’s happening in the world around us. Thank you so much for your support.