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The First Ronald McDonald House

In 1974, Philadelphia Eagles football player Fred Hill and his wife Fran, learned that their daughter, Kim, was diagnosed with leukemia. While traveling to Philadelphia for Kim’s treatments, procedures and doctor’s visits, they noticed a number of families and children in the same situations. Families drove hours back and forth from home to the hospital, sleeping overnight in waiting rooms and eating from vending machines because they had no place else to go.

Fred Hill decided to do something about this situation, and with the help of his team, local doctors, and many businesses in the area, they decided to build a “home-away-from-home” for these families. With the help of McDonald’s, they purchased and restored a house near the hospital so families caring for ill or injured children could have a place to stay. This became known as the very first Ronald McDonald House. Today, families from all over the world benefit from what Fred Hill, The Eagles, the local community, and McDonald’s started years ago.

The Ronald McDonald House allows families from out of town to stay in a homelike environment and be close to their hospitalized child.  The House encourages the whole family to stay, thus helping to keep the family strong during times of crisis.

Currently there are over 350 Ronald McDonald Houses worldwide with seven of those being in North Carolina (Chapel Hill, Charlotte, Durham (2), Greenville (2), and Winston-Salem).

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Eastern NC

The Ronald McDonald House of Eastern North Carolina gave fathers, along with their families, a great gift on Father’s Day by opening its doors in 1987. Since opening in 1987, the Ronald McDonald House of Eastern NC has had more than 27,000 admissions and has provided more than just a place to stay for these families.

The Ronald McDonald House inside the James and Connie Maynard Children’s Hospital at ECU Health opened in June 2013 inside the James and Connie Maynard Children’s Hospital. What initially started as a Family Room grew to become our second House in Greenville when we were able to add six bedrooms within the hospital.

On February 14th, 2022, Ronald McDonald House of Eastern North Carolina expanded its mission and reach, becoming the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Eastern North Carolina. Click here to learn more about the name change.

Our Relationship with McDonald’s

While Ronald McDonald House Charities is a non-profit organization, McDonald’s has done more than its fair share in donating time and money helping all the Houses. Every year McDonald’s and owner/operators of local McDonald’s restaurants graciously fund portions of the annual operating costs for the Ronald McDonald House Charities. McDonald’s involvement thankfully extends well beyond monetary support:

  • Franchises partner with local chapters for promotional and fundraising events.
  • McDonald’s employees are dedicated volunteers.
  • Owner/operators participate in local and global Ronald McDonald House Charity (RMHC) boards.
  • RMHC donation boxes hosted in restaurants are the largest source of ongoing RMHC global fundraising.