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Ronald McDonald House Northland opens to families in need

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UPDATE: The Northland's first Ronald McDonald House officially opened its doors.

Wednesday morning, staff hosted a virtual grand-opening showing-off the new space and what it has to offer.

The 5-bedroom facility in downtown Duluth will house families that need to be close to their sick children and are patients at Twin Ports health centers.

It allows families to rest and feel some comfort during a tough time, free of cost.

During the virtual event, spokespeople touted what amazing opportunities the house will bring to the community.

CEO of Essentia Health Dr. David Herman said, "pulling the resources, the support, the caring, the loving that comes with the Ronald McDonald House is incredibly important to any community that cares for children."

The facility was made possible through partnership with Ronald McDonald House Charities - Upper Midwest and the Essentia Health Foundation.

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DULUTH, MN-- The Ronald McDonald House Northland will soon open its doors to families who need it.

It's a project years in the making and made possible through a partnership with Ronald McDonald House Charities and The Essentia Health Foundation.

KBJR 6 got a first-hand look inside the new facility located on the 4th floor of Essentia's 5th Ave. building at 503 E 3rd St. in downtown Duluth.

Executive Director for the Essentia Health Foundation, Grant Hauschild explains what the facility will be used for. He said, "hospitality space for our pediatric patients and their families."

The space is welcoming for all who stay, aiming for moments of rest for families amid times of chaos.

"This is a secure space for families to be able to stay overnight. We have 5-rooms," said Tara Gallagher, the Manager of Programs at the Northland location.

Gallagher went on to say, "we want to have this cool, calm, inviting space for families to have rest and be able to recharge."

The location of the building is adjacent to Essentia's hospital campus, allowing families speedy, easy access to their sick children.

"We want to try to give that sense of grounding for them, again, to be able to just go back by their kiddos side," said Gallagher.

The center is meant to feel like a home away from home. It includes a coffee bar, laundry room, a full kitchen, and a hearty pantry. The pantry is stocked with dry food items and supplies, all donated by the community.

The space also includes a comfortable lounge area and kids' corner, fully stocked with family-friendly games.

"Really ranges from anything that you could possibly need in your house and your life that just makes your world a little easier," said Gallagher. "The simplest, small things that can mean the world to a person."

It simply provides little moments of comfort for all who stay.

"That's our mission. Making a healthy difference in people's lives. So this is just a critical part of that mission," Hauschild said. "It's been a long time coming and now it's here."

The Ronald McDonald House Northland is hosting a virtual grand opening of the space on Wednesday, February 10 at 11 a.m.

They expect to start hosting families after that.

If you're interested in joining the virtual tour click the zoom link below.

ZOOM LINK

ZOOM MEETING: Password (if prompted): 909279

The facility is always welcoming donations.

There is currently a "wish list" on amazon where you can donate supplies.

You can also donate by texting: RMHLove to 243725

The Essentia Health Foundation also has a fund set up to help with operating costs.

Related story here.


Jessie Slater

Evening Anchor and Reporter

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