Published on February 09, 2021

Virtual grand opening set for Ronald McDonald House Northland

Essentia Health will celebrate the region’s first Ronald McDonald House on Wednesday, Feb. 10.

Ronald McDonald House Northland will provide support for families of pediatric patients at Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center. Located on the fourth floor of our Fifth Avenue Building at 503 E Third St, construction began last summer. The beautiful, modern space features five private bedrooms, as well as a full kitchen, family room, laundry, stocked pantry and more. Nine meals per week — dinner nightly plus brunch on the weekends — will be supplied.

The public is invited to join us online for a virtual grand opening, which can be viewed any time after 11 a.m. on Wednesday at this link: It will include a behind-the-scenes look at the facility, as well as comments from members of Essentia Health, the Essentia Health Foundation and Ronald McDonald House Charities, Upper Midwest.

A Ronald McDonald House is a blessing for families going through challenging times. They receive a comfortable place to eat, sleep and socialize — a home away from home — at no cost. Instead, they can focus on supporting their loved one during a medical crisis.

“This event marks a convergence of two of my passions, care for communities and families here in the Northland, and care for children and their families at a Ronald McDonald House,” said Essentia Health CEO David C. Herman, MD. “As we designed Vision Northland we were able to incorporate two complimentary priorities: the highest level of health care for the future, and a Ronald McDonald House as an important part of that care.”

Families with hospitalized children face enormous social, emotional and financial pressures related to one or more parents taking time off from work, as well as lodging, travel and other expenses. In 2019, RMHC-UM saved families more than $6.2 million in out-of-pocket costs for meals, hotels and more. In Duluth, the average hotel-room rate, even with Essentia’s medical discount, is $135. So the savings will be significant for families staying at Ronald McDonald House Northland.

Priority for pediatric patient families will be determined by social workers, and it will be based on the severity of the child’s medical needs.

“We are honored to provide this important resource to families in the Twin Ports and across the Northland,” said Jill Evenocheck, president and CEO of RMHC-UM. “For 42 years, we’ve met the essential daily needs of families with seriously ill and injured children at our four Twin Cities locations, and we are grateful for this opportunity to partner with Essentia Health to serve more families in this community.”

Ronald McDonald House Northland remains in need of several every-day items. Anyone interested in sending a housewarming gift can access our Amazon “wish list” here.

To coordinate interviews, photos, and/or video, contact the media relations team.

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