More than 100 volunteers and donors were on hand tonight to watch Ronald McDonald himself light “The Living Trees,” officially kicking off the holiday season at the future site of the Ronald McDonald House (RMH) of Charlotte.With this year’s holiday season now in progress, RMH of Charlotte officials are already looking forward to hosting the event next year inside the House. That’s because an official groundbreaking is expected to occur the week of January 25, 2010. “The RMH will become a place for families to be with other families that are dealing with life-threatening situations,” said Mona Johnson-Gibson, Executive Director of the RMH of Charlotte. “This House will make it possible for families to travel to Charlotte so their sick children can receive treatment at both Levine and Hemby Children’s Hospitals without the worry of finding a place to stay. Next year, we can’t wait to have this party ‘inside our new House.’” The three Living Trees (a 3-foot Evergreen, a 6-foot Holly tree [shaped as a Christmas tree] and a 12-foot deciduous tree) were illuminated with red and yellow lights. They will be illuminated every night until the end of the year. The Trees are more than just symbols of the upcoming holidays; they will serve as living icons – beacons of hope – for children and families who will use the House after it is opens. The trees will then become focal points in its landscaping. Construction of the House is scheduled to be completed in late 2010 on the one-acre parcel of land, donated by Carolinas Medical Center (the 1600 block of East Morehead Street). The lot currently contains two structures that will be removed, making way for the state-of-the-art facility. About the Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte
Currently, Charlotte is the only major U.S. city that does not have a RMH. The RMH of Charlotte is scheduled to open in late 2010 and will serve the families of children being treated at Levine Children’s Hospital and Hemby Children’s Hospital. Located on the 1600 block of East Morehead Street on land donated by Carolinas Medical Center, the House will feature approximately 35,000 square feet of living space complete with 28 bedrooms (one family per bedroom/suite), providing more than 10,000 nights for the families. It is also scheduled to have a community kitchen, great room, learning center, playground and sitting porch. Construction will begin in early 2010. The RMH of Charlotte is an independent 501 (c) (3) charity managed by a local board of directors which will oversee construction and operation of the home. The cost of building and operating the RMH of Charlotte will come primarily from individual and corporate donations. The RMH of Charlotte will be funded, constructed and operated by the Charlotte community. The mission of the RMH of Charlotte is to provide the families of children being treated in area medical facilities with a safe, affordable and caring “home away from home.” For more information on RMH of Charlotte, visit www.rmhofcharlotte.org.