Interview and article prepared for the Philadelphia Business Journal, as filed, without edits, to run in a previous edition.
On. Oct. 15, 1974, the world’s first Ronald McDonald House opened on Spruce Street, before moving to Chestnut near 39th Street. More than 30 years later, Philadelphia’s second, a 15 room, 27,000 square foot home for families whose children must travel more than 25 miles for medical care in the city, has opened at N. Front St. and E. Erie Ave. near St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children.
“There are hundreds of families that are being served through St. Christopher’s community that otherwise wouldn’t have a place to stay,” said Susan Campbell, executive director of the new house (depicted at left).
Though it’s next to St. Christopher’s, it services many pediatric care facilities in the city, including Shriners Hospital For Children and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. More than 200 donations helped the construction, which began in November 2006, including nearly fifty in-kind awards from area businesses. Lead sponsors Hahnemann University Hospital and Dallas-based Tenent Healthcare gave over $1 million each, helped by the likes of IBM, the Comcast Corporation and Wisconsin-based Ashley Furniture, which donated all of the home’s furniture.
A night’s stay costs just $15 a night, though no one is turned away. The house welcomed two families on its opening day Jan. 7, had seven within a week and intends on reaching capacity and staying there soon.
“We would not have been able to build without the community support,” said Campbell, 35.
See other reporting by Christopher Wink here.
Picture above, from left: Susan Campbell, Executive Director, Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House at Front and Erie; Marlene Weinberg, Capital Campaign Chairperson and McDonald’s Owner/Operator, McDonald’s