Expansion plan unveiled for Ronald McDonald House

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) -- Ronald McDonald House Charities in Omaha has announced their capital campaign of $10.3 million to expand their current House.

The Hope and Healing Expansion project will add approximately 20,000 square feet of space, including 20 more guest rooms, bringing the total number of guest rooms to 40, allowing twice as many families to have a home away from home while their children undergo medical treatment.

Due to an increased need for care in Omaha’s top-rated hospitals, RMHC has been operating at nearly full capacity since April 2015, with a waiting list of 8-10 families each night. In 2016, they were forced to turn families away 798 times, and another 714 times in the first six months of 2017.

RMHC in Omaha Executive Director Lindsey Rai Reasner spearheaded the campaign for the expansion, raising $8.7 million to date. “This project exemplifies the best Omaha has to offer. When we were faced with this obstacle of an underserved population, Omaha stepped up and has helped us get over that hurdle. We’re beyond thrilled to have such a supportive community behind us as we blaze this trail together.”

Scott Searl, President of the RMHC in Omaha Board of Directors, has made sure Reasner had the tools to carry out their strategic vision. “Our local Ronald McDonald House was determined to find a way to meet the increasing demand for services we provide for families who seek our help during the most difficult times in their lives. Thanks to the support of so many foundations, organizations and individuals in this community we can meet this demand and provide a home away from home to more families than ever before.”

In addition to the 20 new guest rooms, the expanded House will include a larger kitchen, glass-encased toy room, comfortable check-in room, volunteer room, community classroom, quiet/lactation and contemplation rooms, office space to be leased by Angels Among Us, and an in-House clinic operated by Nebraska Medicine – a first-of-its-kind undertaking.

Dr. David F. Mercer, M.D., Ph.D. is the head of transplant surgery and intestinal rehabilitation at Nebraska Medicine, two of the primary referral sources for patients needing to stay at the House. “Our care of these children couldn't occur in its present form without the support of RMHC. Now, it can be something larger. Something never done before. We hope that in addition to helping our kids get better, we will show the country and the world a better way to provide care.”

Reasner adds, “There has never been another entity in the United States who has taken the patient, their family, and their treatment into consideration into one collaborative approach in this capacity. Moving forward, Omaha will serve as the flagship location showcasing the opportunity to be the true premier partner in family-centered care.”