Hundreds of families
depended on the house, a board member said.
By WILL HANLON
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN — After nearly 20 years of operation and dedication to the Mahoning Valley, the Ronald McDonald House of Youngstown has closed.
Its closing is part of the consolidation of pediatric hospital care from Youngstown to the new Humility of Mary Health Partners’ $77 million, 108-bed hospital in Boardman. As of June 30, all of Forum Health Tod Children’s Hospital services, including the emergency department, closed.
The Ronald McDonald House of Youngstown saw its final day last Friday.
Herb Washington, the owner of several area McDonald’s Restaurants, said that for a Ronald McDonald House to operate it must first have an alliance with a hospital partner.
The new children’s hospital in Boardman will be operated and staffed by Akron Children’s Hospital. Opening of a new Ronald McDonald House in the Boardman area in the near future is hopeful; a feasibility study is under way and meetings with Akron Children’s Hospital have been positive, according to a news release.
For nearly 20 years, the Ronald McDonald House of Youngstown has been a home away from home for families whose seriously ill children required medical attention from Tod’s.
According to Washington, the number of residents coming to Youngstown’s Ronald McDonald House has decreased dramatically over the years as more pediatric centers started to emerge outside Youngstown, specifically in Boardman.
“All the folks of the families have relocated somewhere else,” he said.
Since Tod Children’s has closed in Youngstown, Washington explained, the Ronald McDonald House has been virtually empty.
“It’s sad that we must close the doors of the house for that last time after more than 20 years of dedication to the Mahoning Valley, which served hundreds of families who depended on us,” said John Perdue, who is on the board of directors for the Ronald McDonald Houses.
Ronald McDonald House Charities of Mahoning Valley & Western Pennsylvania will continue to serve the area. All money raised through the collection canisters at McDonald’s Restaurants continues to stay local and will be used to support local charities whose mission is to better the lives of children. In addition to canister collections, each year in November, the local McDonald’s restaurants also raise money for the charity, generating $20,000 in 2006.
For more information about RMHC, visit www.rmhc.org.