Find out the easy way Alabamians have raised more than $315K in 2022 to keep families close

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Ronald McDonald with Cindy and Pete Hodo at the Heart of the House Gala. (Cindy Hodo)

When a child is in the hospital, no matter how far from home, it’s a given that parents want to be nearby. Ronald McDonald House Charities of Alabama (RMHCA) makes this possible by providing a home away from home for families with a sick or injured little one. Friday, October 14 is the Day of Change, when Ronald McDonald House Charities across the country celebrate the establishment of the first house 48 years ago, back in 1974. Keep reading to find out more about this life-changing mission and how you can support it.

Celebrate Day of Change October 14

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Volunteers + signs are all part of Day of Change. (RMHCA)
  • What: a day to celebrate the tremendous impact McDonald’s crew + customers have been making for families with hospitalized children through the RMHC Donation box and Round-Up programs at McDonald’s since 1974, when the first Ronald McDonald House in the world opened.
  • These numbers tell just part of the story:
    • $315,094.10: the amount McDonald’s crew + customers have raised across the state in 2022 alone to support the RMHC House in Birmingham
    • 2520: the number of nights at the House this money has covered for Alabama families
    • 157: families McDonald’s crew + customers have helped stay close to their sick or injured child
    • 73: the number of rooms in the House
    • 16: average nights’ stay
    • 3: rooms in the Family Room at UAB Women & Infants Center
  • When: Friday, October 14
  • Why: When you Round-Up for RMHC at your local McDonald’s, you help keep families together during a medical crisis and improve quality of life for all family members. Parents can focus on their child’s care instead of worrying about where to sleep or how to pay for groceries.
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The official 2022 Day of Change t-shirt. (RMHCA)

3 easy ways you can get involved:

  1. Get the official 2022 Day of Change t-shirt for a donation + wear it around town to raise awareness.
    1. For $20, you can order a shirt online + arrange to pick it up at the RMHCA House downtown.
    2. For $25, you can have your shirt shipped to you.
  2. Wear your shirt on Friday, October 14 to let everyone know you support the Ronald McDonald House. Post a picture that day + tag @RMHCAlabama on social to help raise awareness of #KeepingFamiliesClose.
  3. Round-Up for RMHC each time you eat at McDonald’s throughout the year—just ask at the drive-through or push the button on the kiosk.

Cindy Hodo stayed at the Birmingham Ronald McDonald House when her son was in an accident

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Cindy Hodo with Ronald McDonald at the Red Shoe Run. Hodo ran in memory of her late son, Thomas. (Cindy Hodo)

Cindy Hodo knows firsthand what a difference RMHC makes. While she currently serves on the board, she and her husband stayed at the house back in 2011 after tragedy struck.

In the summer of that year, her young son Thomas was in a serious car accident. Unresponsive, he was life-flighted from Mississippi to UAB’s trauma unit. There, a social worker first told Cindy and her husband about the Ronald McDonald House.

In the end, the Hodos stayed at RMHCA for over a month while Thomas was in the hospital. 

“The Ronald McDonald House gave us a sense of relief. It allowed us to be within walking distance of both UAB and Children’s. It also gave us a place to sleep without being worried about finances or wearing down a friendship. 

When we moved to Birmingham, one of the first things I did was reach out to the Ronald McDonald House to say “Hey, we lived there a couple of years ago, and we want to give back to the House. What can I do and how can I be involved?”

Cindy Hodo, Board Member, RMHCA

Getting involved with RMHCA has made all the difference

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Two-year old Monroe has captured the hearts of everyone at Ronald McDonald House with her infectious smile. (RMHCA)

Because Hodo owned an advertising agency at the time, fundraising and the marketing committee were a natural fit. From there, she was invited to serve on the board. 

“It has been wonderful to help other families—in particular, the ones who are going to be there for a long time. It’s just such a relief financially and emotionally to know that you have a very positive place to stay and have some food to eat. Even though everyone there has kids in the hospital, it’s uplifting, and there’s a lot of support at the House between parents and between the staff and the families who are living there.

Any time you’re at McDonald’s, if you want to give back, you can just round up your order to the next dollar. That money is helping a family that has traveled to the Birmingham area with a sick child or a child who needs therapies—they’re really making a big difference in that child’s life and that family’s life to feel secure, safe and near the hospital.”

Cindy Hodo, Board Member, RMHCA

Meet Bob Barker, another longtime volunteer with RMHCA

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Bob Barker (l) with other volunteers at Round UP for RMHC! (RMHCA)

Bob Barker first got involved with RMHCA as a result of work his marketing firm did with McDonald’s.

“You can’t participate in the McDonald’s family without becoming familiar with and passionate about what the Ronald McDonald House does.”

Bob Barker, Board Member, RMHCA

For years he’s been part of the Marketing Committee for the House and currently serves on the Board. He summed up what makes Day of Change special:

“People underestimate how small moments and little tiny efforts across the board can add up to mean so much. Round-Up encapsulates what a little bit of effort here and there can mean, when you put collective effort behind it. You’d be surprised how much money is raised every year through the Round-Up effort at the McDonald’s restaurants.

By being involved, you see just how much can happen. It’s a little bit of time, a little bit at a time, a little bit of change, one family, one legacy gift, just one volunteer that shows up and they participate in a Red Shoe Run or something…it all adds up.

It’s so easy for our mission to hit home. Everybody can participate and feel like they’ve made a difference.”

Bob Barker, Board Member, RMHCA

Order your t-shirt today + participate in Round-Up! to show your support for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Alabama.

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Sharron Swain
Sharron Swain

Writer, Interviewer + Adventurer | Telling stories to make a difference

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