Twelve years after the first Ronald McDonald House opened in Philadelphia, the 100th House opened on the grounds of the Long Island Jewish Medical Center campus. But the dream of having a Ronald McDonald House on Long Island began in 1981 when Lyn Jurick, a trustee at LIJ and Irving Klein, a prominent McDonald’s Owner/ Operator, met with Dr. Philip Lanzkowsky, the Chief of Staff of Schneider Children’s Hospital. These three, with eleven others, set the plans in motion to create and fulfill their vision and, on September 29, 1986, our 18-bedroom home was opened. Since then, we have grown to accommodate the increasing demands for more rooms to help families in need. The 1998 merger of the Long Island Jewish Medical Center and North Shore University Hospital prompted the Board of Directors of RMHC-NYM to launch a $5 million campaign in 2001. In 2005 we became a 42-bedroom facility with 8 kitchens, 5 laundry facilities, 2 Kosher kitchens, a library and numerous indoor and outdoor communal areas. Our children’s playground and indoor playroom were renovated in 2009 and we recently completed an update on our outside facade.
In August of 2013, the House completed an extension of its services through a program called the Ronald McDonald Family Room, a partnership with Stony Brook Children’s Hospital. The Family Room is a family-friendly respite area located on the 11th floor of the hospital. As Suffolk County’s only children’s hospital, Stony Brook Children’s serves a population of 1.5 million. The Family Room provides support for families of more than 7,000 children who are hospitalized each year at Stony Brook Children’s, helping to alleviate their anxiety of having a child in the hospital by keeping them close to their child’s bedside.
Most recently, an initiative called Project Design was added to the House’s rich history. With the help of generous leaders in the interior design industry including Kravet Inc. and NYC&G (New York Cottages & Gardens), all of the spaces in the Ronald McDonald House Long Island have been completely re-designed to better comfort the 1,000+ families it serves each year. This project focused on updating bedrooms and several common areas.
Because of the generosity of donors who have supported our cause, the Ronald McDonald House of Long Island is expanding its capacity to serve and create meaningful programs to benefit more children and their families. Effective in May 2019, as the newly established RMHC New York Metro, we will serve children throughout the greater New York Metro area through nine core programs — the Ronald McDonald House in Long Island, the Ronald McDonald Family Room at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital and through financial support for our partner Ronald McDonald Houses in Manhattan, Valhalla, Long Branch, and New Brunswick and the Ronald McDonald Family Rooms in Brooklyn, Neptune, and Long Branch.
Studies show that with their family nearby, a child heals better. Not having to worry about food and lodging, a family can handle their crisis with a clearer mind and are able to cope with the situation. We are proud to have been keeping families with sick children close to each other and the care and resources they need for over 30,000 families and we look forward to continuing this most important and vital mission.