Frequently Asked Questions

Here’s the scoop on Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland & Northwest Indiana (RMHC-CNI) and how you can stay with us.  We have also included information on how you can help us keep families together and make a wonderful difference through your donations, time and talents.


About Us


Who owns and operates Ronald McDonald Houses?

Our Ronald McDonald Houses are owned and operated by Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana, an independent 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization that is governed by a Board of Directors.


Who funds Chicagoland’s five Ronald McDonald Houses?

Generous supporters like you! The majority of our operating funds come from individual and corporate donors. While we have a suggested family donation of $10 per night, this fee is often waived and only covers a fraction of our operating costs.


What’s the relationship between RMHC-CNI and McDonald’s?

The local McDonald’s franchisees and McDonald’s Corporation are the largest, single donor who supports RMHC-CNI through in-restaurant fundraisers such as the RMHC Donation Box Program, the Happy Meal Program, Give a Little Love promotion and RMHC’s National Fundraiser.


Are all Ronald McDonald Houses the same?

All Ronald McDonald Houses throughout the world share a common purpose to provide a ‘home away from home’ for families of hospitalized children. However, each one has a unique design, size, and character, depending on the needs of the hospital(s) and communities they serve. 


How many Ronald McDonald Houses are there?

There are five Ronald McDonald Houses in the Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana area. Around the globe, there are over 359 Ronald McDonald Houses, 210 Ronald McDonald Family Rooms & 49 Ronald McDonald Care Mobiles. Learn more about Ronald McDonald House Charities.



Staying at a Ronald McDonald House


Who can stay at a Ronald McDonald House in Chicagoland & Northwest Indiana?

We serve families of children receiving treatment at the local children’s hospital. For the initial visit, the hospital social worker must refer the family to a Ronald McDonald House to ensure they meet all the criteria.


Are only low income families permitted to stay?

Family income has nothing to do with the criteria to stay at a Ronald McDonald House.  We welcome all, regardless of income.


How much does it cost to stay?

We have a suggested donation of $10 per night, however no one is ever turned away based on ability to pay.


How close are the Houses to the hospitals?

Ronald McDonald House near Advocate Children’s Hospital
across the street from Advocate Children’s Hospital 


Ronald McDonald House near Central DuPage Hospital 

across the street from Central DuPage Hospital


Ronald McDonald House near Loyola University Medical Center
just a short shuttle ride to Loyola University Medical Center and 6 miles to the Shriners Hospital in Chicago


Ronald McDonald House near Lurie Children’s
only a few blocks from Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago


Ronald McDonald House near University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital
just a short shuttle ride or walk to University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital


How do I get a room at a House?

First-time families must get a referral from the hospital social work department. The family’s name is then put on the waiting list for their arrival day.

Returning families may call the House directly to be placed on the daily wait list.

Because most families do not know how long their child will be in treatment at the hospital, we do not know how long they will need to stay at the House.  Consequently, we cannot provide advanced reservations.  Families are therefore asked to call the day prior to their arrival to check on availability.  If no rooms are available on the day of arrival, the family will remain on the wait list until a room becomes available.


Who do I contact if I know a family that needs to stay at a Ronald McDonald House?

To stay at a Ronald McDonald House, a family must be referred by the hospital.  To find out which hospital social worker/case manager is assigned to the patient, please contact the hospital directly.  They will call us if the family qualifies.


Can my family stay at the House with me?

Our rooms range in size and can accommodate between 1-5 people.  Parents, grandparents, siblings, and extended family are welcome to stay, room capacity permitting.


What are the Houses and guest rooms like?

Our four Ronald McDonald Houses are special and very unique places, but all provide a comfortable, welcoming environment that is a ‘home away from home.’ There are living rooms, a kitchen, laundry rooms, and play areas for children.  Each family is assigned a private bedroom only accessible by that family.


Will I have access to a kitchen?

Our Houses have community kitchens fully equipped with all the plates, glasses, pots and pans and silverware a family will need.  We also have House pantries full of delicious non-perishable items that have been generously donated for families to use.  Each family is also given a small pantry space to store personal food items.  Several volunteer groups also visit the Houses during the week to prepare home-cooked meals for the families.


Will I have access to a laundry room?

Our Houses have laundry rooms with washing machines and dryers. The machines are available to all registered families and are free of charge. Detergent, fabric softener and dryer sheets are also provided.


Do the bedrooms have telephones and voicemail?

Each guest bedroom has its own telephone and voicemail system.  Messages can be left in voicemail when the family is out of the House. Local calls can be made from the bedroom phones, but all other calls require a calling card, which is offered at check-in.


Do I have to bring my own linens?

The Houses are happy to provide towels and bed linens.  We do ask families to wash their linens prior to check-out so they are ready for the next family to use.


Are the Houses wheelchair accessible?

Yes.  The Houses each have elevators that run between floors, and large bathrooms equipped to accommodate wheelchairs.  However, not all rooms are wheelchair accessible, so proper accommodations should be requested when reserving a room.


Can I have visitors at the House?

Visitors are welcome during daytime hours. However, all visitors are asked to sign in at the office.




How do I make sure my donation goes directly to Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland & Northwest Indiana?

Whether you make a donation online or register for an event, your contribution will be used to fund our local programs, which consist of our five Ronald McDonald Houses, three Ronald McDonald Family Rooms, Ronald McDonald Care Mobile, and Scholarship Program.



Do the Houses accept donations of furniture, toys, clothes, food etc.?

We appreciate you thinking of us and would be glad to discuss with you whether an item you want to donate is needed at one of our Houses.  We always want to make sure that the items you donate will be put to use right away.  For health and safety reasons, we accept only NEW and UNUSED items.  Please contact us directly, and we will let you know if it is something we can use.

RMH near Advocate Children’s Hospital



RMH near Central DuPage Hospital

RMH near Loyola University Medical Center

RMH near Lurie Children’s


RMH near University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital




How can I help a family I know during their stay?

To support a family you know, we suggest making a cash donation to the House designated to their lodging cost ($85 per night).  Other items that are appreciated are food baskets or gift certificates to local restaurants.  Feel free to contact the House Directors for more ideas.




What do volunteers do?

Volunteers are vital to keeping our doors open to families.  Volunteers greet the families and help with day-to-day operations.  They also cook dinner, bake cookies, organize fundraisers, and provide support at fundraising events.  Volunteer opportunities at RMHC-CNI are endless and can be tailored to fit your unique talents and interests.


How can I get my business involved?

Let us help you customize your company’s volunteer and giving experience. Learn more here.


Can I work with children?

Most often it is the families of hospitalized children who are staying with us, not the patients themselves.  Occasionally, children stay with us on an outpatient basis, and during school breaks we may have siblings at the House.  During these times, volunteers are able to play games or do craft activities with them, but there is no guarantee that children will be in the House while volunteers are working.


During Christmas and other holidays, can families be adopted?

Many of our families are not certain if they will be staying with us during the holidays, so we don’t have a family adoption program. During the holidays, we encourage people to make a cash contribution or donate items that can be shared equally among all of our families at any of our Ronald McDonald Houses. Call any of our House locations for information on how you can get involved in holiday activities.