Frequently Asked Questions

About Us
Generous supporters like you! The majority of our operating funds come from individuals and corporate donors. While we ask families to pay $10 per night, this fee is often waived completely for families. These fees cover approximately 2% of our operating costs and the remaining 98% is generated through donations and fundraising activities -- so you can see that your support is needed.

The Ronald McDonald House of Portland, Maine is a signature program of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Maine. 

Ronald McDonald House Charities has been McDonald’s "charity of choice" for 35 years.

We are a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation, but McDonald's is our largest corporate donor. Portions of the annual operating costs for Ronald McDonald Houses are graciously funded by McDonald's and owner/operators of local McDonald's restaurants. The remainder of our annual operating income comes from the generosity of individual and corporate donors.

McDonald’s involvement extends 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 RMHC boards.
  • RMHC donation boxes hosted in restaurants are the largest source of ongoing RMHC Global fundraising.
  • In-restaurant sales of USA Today are all donated to RMHC. 
  • McDonald's conducts an annual fundraiser in November called McHappy Day.  Since 2002, it has raised $150 million for RMHC and children's charities around the world.

All Ronald McDonald Houses throughout the world share a common purpose to provide a "home away from home" for families of seriously ill children receiving medical care at nearby hospitals. Programs and eligibility requirements will vary from house to house.

By donating and volunteering! We could not operate the House without donations from individuals and groups. Our volunteers help keep our operating costs low - and are the reason we can accomplish so much with such a small staff.

There are two in Maine and 315 worldwide.

The Portland House can accommodate up to 21 families each night.

The Ronald McDonald House in Portland, Maine has five paid staff members supported by over 300 volunteers.

It is easy to do. Whether you make a donation through our website, mail us a check, or register for a fundraising event, your gift will be used to directly benefit and fund the continued operations of the House.
We appreciate you thinking of us. We always want to make sure that the items you donate are needed and will be put to use right away. We accept only NEW and UNUSED items. Please contact us directly, and we will let you know if it is something we can use – 250 Brackett Street Portland, Maine 04102 207.780.6282 .

To support a family you know, we suggest making a cash donation designated to cover their stay -- our lodging fee is $10 per day. Other items that are usually appreciated are food baskets (alcohol not permitted) or gift certificates to a local restaurant or grocery store. Still not sure? Just contact our House Manager, we are happy to share what is on our "Wsh List".

Volunteers are vital to keeping our doors open to families. Volunteers greet visitors and help with the day-to-day operations. They also organize fundraisers, cook dinners and provide support at fundraising events.

Let us customize your company's volunteer and giving experience. Check out our Volunteer page or contact Robin Chibroski at 207.780.6282 ext .334.

Most often, it is the families of the seriously ill or injured children staying with us, not the patient 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.
Staying with us

Families of seriously ill or injured children receiving treatment at a nearby medical facility may qualify to stay at the Ronald McDonald House.  Towns considered for Day Use include: Cape Elizabeth, Cumberland, Falmouth, Portland/South Portland, Westbrook and Yarmouth. All other towns are eligible to stay Overnight including the islands. Please see our housing eligibility guidelines.

Although it costs on average $60 a night, we ask families to pay $10 per night, but the fee is often waived or reduced for families who cannot afford it.
Maine Medical Center is three blocks from the Ronald McDonald House.  Maine Children’s Cancer Program is located in Scarborough.

No, we do not accept reservations, but we do keep a waiting list. We always do our best to accommodate as many families as possible on a first come first served basis. However, we frequently receive more requests than we have rooms available.  As rooms become available during the day and other families check out, families are notified of any openings.

After a family is referred by a hospital social worker or case manager and it is determined that the House has rooms available, they must check-in with House staff or volunteers. During this check-in process, they receive a brief introduction, review House policies and procedures and take a quick tour. A Ronald McDonald House representative will also show them their room and room key card. After this orientation, families are able to return to the hospital, relax in their room, enjoy a meal or spend time in any of the common areas within the House.

The Ronald McDonald House provides a "home away from home" for families in a clean, affordable, comfortable and supportive environment close to the hospital.

The House has a communal kitchen and pantry of non-perishable foods that are offered free to families. Families have a shared refrigerator designated for their personal items and cupboard where their food can be stored. In addition, the majority of nights our Guest Chef Program prepares dinner for the entire House.

No. However, we encourage families to use any of the televisions and DVD players available in the common areas of the House. A selection of videos and DVD's are available free of charge.

On average, four occupants is permitted.

No. To qualify to stay at the Ronald McDonald House, the family must have a child 21 years old or younger receiving medical care at the hospital.

To stay at a Ronald McDonald House, a family must be referred by a hospital social worker/case manager. To find who is assigned to the patient, please contact the hospital directly.
Yes. We accept deliveries during normal business hours and will be happy to forward them to the family. Because families sometimes check-out unexpectedly, it is best to call and confirm that they are still staying at the House before sending anything.
There is no professional counseling program.  Families often find support from staff, volunteers and other families going through similar experiences.

Visitors are welcome, but must sign in at the front desk and vacate the House by 9 PM each night. The children living at Ronald McDonald House are medically fragile and highly susceptible to infections. Any person who could endanger the health of our other guests who have been exposed to the flu, chickenpox, etc. should not visit the House.

We do provide linens and towels for each room, however we encourage guests to bring along their comforts of home such as favorite pillows and blankets.
No. We ask families to keep their rooms clean and do their own dishes and laundry. Families are asked to clean their room before checking out of the House. They are also expected to clean up any communal areas they use.
No. Parents are required to be responsible for their own children and provide supervision at all times.
Rooms have either twin or queen-sized beds, closet space, alarm clock, dresser, and telephone.  The majority of rooms offer private baths.
There is no smoking anywhere in the House. There are designated smoking spaces outside and away from the entrances.
The House is open 24 hours a day 365 days a year for families staying here to come and go. Quiet hours are between 10 pm and 8 am.
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