They provide a home away from home for families of seriously ill children treated at local hospitals.
But Augusta’s Ronald McDonald house needs some special care of its own.
Contrary to popular belief, just buying Big Macs doesn't keep the charity going.
Six month old Justin was born three months premature near Albany, but he needs special surgery and care at MCG’s Children’s Hospital.
So since September his parents have lived in Augusta at the Ronald McDonald house on Greene Street.
Felicia Bean, Justin’s mother, says, “If we didn't have this place here, we wouldn't be able to stay because we've been here six months and that would be a lot [of money]. We'd be sleeping in the waiting room.”
A bed is about all the Bean family needs. They spend around 12 to 13 hours a day at the neonatal intensive care unit.
The house gives the family a place to live while Justin gets stronger. Grandma and Grandpa are frequent guests as well.
But right now the house is short on funding.
“I think a lot of the nonprofits are feeling that with all the catastrophes that are going on,” says Karen Phelps-Way, director of the Ronald McDonald House.
And even though they share a common name, the McDonald’s restaurant chain does not cover all of the costs.
“So much of the monies we receive are from this community.”
And that's where you can help. The house needs volunteers, supplies and money.
As for Justin... He's showing improvement.
“Nowadays you get to hold him as much as you want. Just depends on him if he gets aggravated or not, he has his daddy's temper,” says Mrs. Bean.
A temper... A good sign... This little one will soon make room for another family at the Ronald McDonald house.
News 12's Time to Care partners started a partnership with the Ronald McDonald house today.
If you want to help Augusta’s Ronald McDonald house, a full list of supplies they need can be found here.
On the Web: Visit the Ronald McDonald House homepage at http://www.mcghealth.org/Childrens_Medical_Center/CMC_Patient-Visitor_Info/Ronald_McDonald_House.html.