A representative from the Ronald McDonald House Charities in Morgantown traveled to Elkins Monday to update Rotary Club members about activities and work on a new project.
Marketing Associate Samantha Esposito told members that the charity is adding a family room in the hospital, just steps from the neonatal intensive care unit.
"Construction on the area began two weeks ago, and should take about two more months to complete," Esposito said. "The space will allow parents a quiet retreat while not being far from the children in the hospital. It contains a living room, lounge, kitchen, bathroom with shower, a computer and a nursing nook."
Esposito said the area is being built to allow parents and relatives to alleviate stress by giving them a close area for escape that is still very close.
The Morgantown Ronald McDonald House was founded October 1990 and contains 16 family rooms with two beds. In 2012, 1,150 families utilized the facility, and more than 30,000 have stayed at the Ronald McDonald House since its inception.
"In order to stay at the house, families must live 50 miles from Morgantown," Esposito said. "Those staying must have a patient in the hospital that is 18 years of age or younger."
Ronald McDonald House also offers day guest services.
"Those who cannot stay at the house are offered a hot meal, a place to take a shower and a place to relax," Esposito said. "Each month, 115 people utilize the house a day for guest services."
Esposito said those staying at the Morgantown Ronald McDonald House include 40 percent from Northern West Virginia, 40 percent from Central West Virginia, 19 percent from Western Maryland and one percent from other places, including foreign countries.
There are many opportunities to help the Ronald McDonald House in Morgantown.
"We receive approximately $30,000 per year through the pop tab collection," Esposito said. "Other volunteer opportunities include ink jet and cell phone recycling, participating in fundraising events, volunteering at the house, donations to the Ronald McDonald House Charities, spreading the word about Ronald McDonald House and the Helping Hands Campaign."
Upcoming fundraisers for Ronald McDonald House Charities include a 5K run in May, a golf scramble in May and a poker run in July. Additional information about Ronald McDonald House Charities in Morgantown is available by calling 304-598-0050 or online at www.rmhcmorgantown.org.