In 1981, the Junior Service League of Sioux Falls adopted the Ronald McDonald House concept as one of their service projects.
In June of 1983, property was purchased at 2001 South Norton Avenue and groundbreaking ceremonies were held in August. On December 15, 1983, the Sioux Falls Ronald McDonald House became the 55th facility to open worldwide. RMHC now consists of two houses, where any family is welcome regardless of income, distance traveled or illness of child.
Today the board, staff and volunteers remain as strong and committed as the day the first house opened on Norton Avenue.
Ronald McDonald House Charities History
It all began in Philadelphia in 1974 when Kim Hill, the daughter of Philadelphia Eagles football player Fred Hill, was being treated for leukemia. Hill approached his teammates to join in an effort to fight this horrendous disease. After months of fundraising, a new oncology wing was built for The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
The doctors there noticed that parents spent weeks camped out on hospital chairs and ate from hospital vending machines as their children were being treated. Plus, many families traveled great distances and were facing financial difficulty as a result of their child’s illness and could not afford to stay at a hotel. And so the dream to provide housing near the hospital began.
With the help of Don Tuckerman from the local McDonald’s advertising agency, a promotion for the St. Patrick’s Day Green Milkshake (now called the Shamrock Shake) was created, with the funds devoted to purchasing an old house near the hospital. McDonald’s had one request – that the house be named after their favorite clown, Ronald McDonald.
At last, on October 15, 1974, the first Ronald McDonald House was officially opened.