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McDonald House gains local support for project

August 28, 2012
By ANGELINA DICKSON - Staff writer ( , Weirton Daily Times

WEIRTON - Ronald McDonald House Charities of Morgantown has launched a project to provide a family room inside West Virginia University Children's Hospital that will be located 15 feet away from the pediatric area, and the local McDonald's stores are offering support.

Steve DeJesus, executive director and chief executive officer of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Morgantown, said the Ronald McDonald House provides a home away from home without the financial burden of a hotel for families of critically ill children requiring more than 50 miles of traveling.

In the coming months, DeJesus said the organization will be traveling around the state to visit areas in which the WVU Children's Hospital serves and in turn utilize the Ronald McDonald House. He said the new project, which is set to cost approximately $300,000, will convert several old rooms in the hospital into a family room setting sized at 980 square feet.

Article Photos

PROJECT LAUNCHED — Ronald McDonald House Charities of Morgantown has launched a project to provide a family room located inside West Virginia University Children’s Hospital that will be located 15 feet away from the pediatric area. Pictured is Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer Steve DeJesus making a presentation at the Holiday Inn in Weirton to the local McDonald’s employees. -- Angelina Dickson

DeJesus said the current Ronald McDonald House can host up to 16 families and assists with hotel stays at no cost for the family if the Ronald McDonald House is fully booked. He said the family room will serve as a retreat from the typical hospital setting for families. He said there are no sleeping rooms, but the plans so far include a lounge area, bathroom with a shower and a kitchen and eating area.

"We get a lot of people from the Weirton and Wheeling areas that stay with us," said DeJesus. "This is a good project and we're hoping to continue to gain support throughout our service area."

Tim Gumm, director of operations for Doane Family Enterprises, franchise holder for the local McDonald's, said local employees attended a recent presentation in order to get the full story in order to answer questions the public might have.

Gumm said the local McDonald's stores will be supporting the project and in the coming months will sponsor a room at the Ronald McDonald House.

"We've taken on this project and we'll be responsible for painting, wall paper, cleaning the room and providing it with essential items for a period of time," he said. "Our customers are within the service area of WVU Children's Hospital and the Ronald McDonald House in Morgantown and we want to support this project."

Gumm said the local McDonald's stores - in Weirton, two locations in Robinson Township, Pa., as well as Steubenville, Wintersville, Toronto and Wellsville in Ohio - are working on obtaining additional information for the public.

"There are people who need the services of the Ronald McDonald House and we'll support those efforts by collecting pop tabs, monetary donations and encouraging volunteers," he said.

For more information contact the business office at (740) 537-5375.

(Dickson can be contacted at

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