Ronald McDonald House Charities of North Central Florida supports families with seriously ill children through our two programs, the Ronald McDonald House and the Ronald McDonald Family Room located in UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital.
In 1979, a group of physicians joined together to establish a Ronald McDonald House after seeing a growing need to support the families of seriously ill children at UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital in Gainesville, Florida. After searching for an existing building with no luck, the group decided to build a new House from the ground up. Groundbreaking was held on July 8, 1981, and exactly one year to the day, the Ronald McDonald House of North Central Florida opened its doors. The original House had 18 rooms, was built without the help of a professional sports team, and was the first Ronald McDonald House built from the ground-up. The House now operates 31 rooms and is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. On average, 1,000 families are served each year from all of Florida’s 67 counties, 48 states, and 35 countries.
In 2002, Ronald McDonald House Charities of North Central Florida celebrated the opening of the Ronald McDonald Family Room located adjacent to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital. Staffed by a team of friendly volunteers, the Ronald McDonald Family Room offers snacks, coffee, a small kitchen, a private room to sleep and relax, telephone, television, computer and activities for children. The Ronald McDonald Family Room serves over 8,000 individuals every year.