Frequently Asked Questions
Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) of Western Washington & Alaska is a nonprofit 501 (c)(3) organization and a chapter of the global RMHC. Our cornerstone is the Seattle Ronald McDonald House which provides a caring "home-away-from-home" for families of seriously ill children being treated at Seattle Children’s. RMHC extends its reach by also providing van transportation to families staying in Anchorage while their children receive treatment. Back to top
The House is owned and operated by Ronald McDonald House Charities of Western Washington & Alaska and is governed by a local Board of Directors. Back to top
Ronald McDonald House Charities of Western Washington & Alaska has a paid staff that runs the day-to-day operations. They are supported by volunteers. Back to top
Currently, there are more than 300 Ronald McDonald Houses throughout the United States and world. All operate under licensing guidelines from the global Ronald McDonald House Charities. However, each Ronald McDonald House is independently operated. Back to top
The Seattle House can accommodate 80 families each night in three buildings. House A houses 48 families; House C houses 22 families, and our Bone Marrow Transplant Apartments are self-contained units for 10 families. These facilities are within walking distance of Children's Hospital. Back to top
By generous supporters like you! Over 80 percent of our operating funds come from individuals, organizations and businesses in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. It costs about $3.4 million annually to operate RMHC. The majority of that amount is raised through individual and corporate donations. These include the Share-A-Night program, RMHC-sponsored and other fundraising events, grants, will bequests, property and goods donations. Back to top
Local McDonald’s restaurant owner/operators and the McDonald's Corporation fund between 15 and 20 percent of our annual operating costs. This funding includes in-store canister donations and newspaper sales, promotions and annual gifts from McDonald's restaurant owner/operators. Back to top
By donating and volunteering! We could not operate the House without donations from individuals and groups. Our volunteers are the heart and soul of our House - and the reason we can accomplish so much with such a small staff. Back to top
Families of seriously ill children undergoing medical treatment at Children's Hospital who live more than 45 miles from Seattle may stay at the House. Most of our families come from Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho. However, we serve families from throughout the U.S. and world. See our housing eligibility guidelines. Back to top
We ask families to contribute $30 per night to stay at the House, but no is ever turned away for financial reasons. In contrast, it costs $135 per night to house a family. Thanks to your support, we never turn a family away because of their inability to contribute financially. Back to top
It varies greatly, depending on the child's illness and treatment. Stays may last several weeks to several months and even extend to a year or more. Back to top
Volunteers are vital to our operation as they work the front desk and greet visitors, help in family services and help with cleaning and day-to-day operations. They also organize fundraisers, cook dinners and sponsor activities for the families. Back to top
RMHC of Western Washington & Alaska has a $3.4 million operating budget. This is used for maintaining and operating the Ronald McDonald House every day of the year. Back to top
To qualify, your child, aged 21 and under, must be admitted to or have an appointment at Seattle Children's Hospital. You must live at least 45 miles away from Seattle Ronald McDonald House, and have a stay of 4 nights or more. Back to top
Parents, legal guardians, and other immediate family members are welcome to stay. Back to top
Family income is not a consideration for admittance. All families are requested to pay $30 a night towards the cost of their stay; however, no one is ever turned away due to financial reasons. Back to top
Only one room will be provided to each family, and the maximum occupancy per room is 6 people. Back to top
Rooms in House A and House C each have two twin or queen size beds, a private bathroom, closet space and dresser, television/DVD, telephone with direct phone number and high-speed DSL internet access.
House B has 10 self-sufficient apartments reserved for families with children who have received a stem cell or bone marrow transplant. Back to top
The safety of our families is very important.
- Identification will be required for all registered adults and all adult guests are asked to wear green wristbands while in the House.
- Every family will be screened for current or past safety or security issues.
- All families are screened to prevent infectious diseases being brought into the House.
- Anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult relative or legal guardian. Back to top
Up to two weeks before your arrival, you can contact our Housing Office at (206) 838-0610 to get your information into our system. Emergent and unplanned requests are also accepted on a daily basis. Staff will then contact you 24 hours before your arrival to let you know if a room is available. We do not take advance reservations because we never know how long a child may need to be in the hospital. As our House is normally full, we encourage families to call Seattle Guest Services Department at (206) 987-9330 or toll free at 1-866-987-9330 to inquire about other housing options. Back to top
Check-in time is between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. seven days a week. Back to top
Within 24 hours of your arrival or when a room becomes available for your family, a Housing Coordinator will contact your family to schedule a time for your family to check into the House. Check in hours are between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. daily. When you arrive, staff will request a photo ID for all adult guests staying in your room. The House Manager will then review the House Rules, ask you to agree to the rules by signing the appropriate paperwork and then will provide a tour of the House. Back to top
As long as a child is being treated at Children's Hospital, families are welcome to stay at the Ronald McDonald House. Eligibility is based on appointment schedules and medical status, and is reviewed at least every 30 days. Back to top
House A and House C each have a communal kitchen and pantry of non-perishable foods that are offered for free to all families. Each family has refrigerator and cupboard space where personal food can be stored. Outside volunteer groups regularly visit the House to make dinners for the families. Free coffee and Coke products are available in vending machines. There is no eating allowed in the rooms or anywhere in the House outside of the kitchen and dining room. Back to top
There is an RMHC van and volunteer drivers who occasionally take families on outings and shopping trips. Children's Hospital provides a complimentary shuttle between the House and the hospital by request; however, the hospital is within walking distance. Back to top
Yes. Groups regularly visit the House to make dinner for the families. There are outings to events and shopping. Movie nights, arts and crafts, visits by Pet Therapy dogs and other activities occur on a regular basis. Back to top
Visiting hours are between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. Visitors are welcome, but must sign in and out at the front desk. The children living at Ronald McDonald House are medically fragile and highly susceptible to infections. Please do not plan on coming to the House if, within the last month, you or any family members have been exposed to: chicken pox, shingles, measles, tuberculosis, influenza or flu, hepatitis A or any other infectious disease such as e. coli, or if you have any of the following symptoms: sore throat, runny nose, watery eyes, cough, fever, chills, unexplained rash, general aches, nausea, vomiteing, diarrhea. If you received the flu mist, the anti-flu nose spray vaccine within the last seven days, you may not enter the House. Back to top
Yes. All mail and packages should be addressed to your room as follows: Your child's name (patient) and Building/Room Number, Ronald McDonald House, 5130 40th Avenue NE, Seattle, WA 98105. Mail is delivered Monday - Friday.
There is no smoking anywhere in the House. A Washington State law prohibits indoor smoking and smoking within 25 feet of any entrance. After dark, families are allowed to smoke in the designated smoking area. Back to top
No. Towels, blankets, and other linens are provided; however, families are responsible for laundering them. Back to top
No. Families actively participate in keeping the House clean and tidy. Families are responsible for keeping their room in good condition, cleaning up after their family members in all areas of the House, washing their linens as needed, and cleaning their room before leaving so it is ready for the next family. Back to top
No. Parents are required to be responsible for their own children and provide supervision at all times. Back to top
The House is open 24 hours a day for families staying here to come and go. Visiting hours are between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. Back to top
Only service animals are allowed in the House and require advance approval. Back to top