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The Daily Tar Heel

Rain delays Ronald McDonald House expansion

Future residents of the Chapel Hill Ronald McDonald House will be getting a rain check on their new space.

The grand opening of the newly expanded living space for families with children receiving care at N.C. Children's Hospital was scheduled for the last weekend of September, but it has been delayed to Nov. 13.

“The weather’s a little bump in the road for us,” Executive Director Shelley Day said.

But families who were supposed to move into the expanded space aren’t left without a place to stay — Day said the organization is helping families find other housing in the area in the meantime.

She said the nonprofit partners with local hotels to allow families to stay at Sheraton, Aloft or University Inn at discounted rates.

“We certainly are going to meet the needs of the families in the community that we serve,"  Senior Director of Development George Marut said. "That much is for certain.”

Day said that for families who can’t afford a hotel, the Ronald McDonald House has a voucher program where the family donates $10 and the Ronald McDonald House pays the rest of the cost.

The organization has had the voucher program for about eight years. The house has often had to turn away families due to lack of space, Day said.

But a hotel isn’t ideal, since it doesn’t provide meals and a fully stocked pantry like the house does. However, Day said, there’s the family room on the seventh floor of N.C. Children’s Hospital, where families can grab a sandwich, coffee or just take a break from treatment rooms.

UNC student organization Carolina For The Kids also provides hot meals for parents on Tuesday nights, CFTK Publicity Chairperson and former Daily Tar Heel reporter Haley Waxman said.

Waxman said the house's expansion will provide more volunteer opportunities for students.

"We're definitely excited about getting in there once the ribbon cutting happens next month," she said.


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