Frequently Asked Questions


What is the mission of Ronald McDonald House at Stanford?

Ronald McDonald House at Stanford creates a home-away-from-home and supportive community for families of children with life-threatening illnesses receiving specialized treatment at local hospitals.

Who does Ronald McDonald House at Stanford serve?

The House welcomes families whose children are receiving highly specialized care—such as organ transplants, chemotherapy, radiation, or bone marrow transplants—at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford. For detailed information about the families served, see our Program Impact sheet.

Who runs the House?

Ronald McDonald House at Stanford is an independently operated 501(c)3 charity. The volunteer Board of Directors governs policy making and financial oversight. The House's Executive Director manages the 15 full- and part-time staff members. Additionally, more than 200 volunteers help facilitate special events and daily House operations.

How is Ronald McDonald House at Stanford funded?

Contributions from individuals, foundations, and businesses account for over 85% of the House's annual budget. Approximately 6% comes from a combination of local McDonald’s owner/operators and Ronald McDonald House Charities. To learn more, see our Program Impact sheet.

How is McDonald's involved in the House?

McDonald's involvement in the Ronald McDonald House program dates back to 1973 when McDonald's Restaurants' owners/operators joined with the Philadelphia Eagles and citizens of Philadelphia to found the first House. McDonald's Corporation has since formed Ronald McDonald House Charities, a global organization which, through its local chapters, supports a variety of programs and services for children—including Ronald McDonald Houses and Family Rooms, the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile, and a scholarship program. While local McDonald's owner/operators serve on the House's Board of Directors and several planning committees, and are generous sponsors, they have no controlling interest in the House.

How many rooms does the House have?

The House has a total of 47 guestrooms with private baths. In May of 2016, the long-anticipated opening 52,000-square-foot expansion will add another 67 guests rooms.

What amenities does the House feature?

The House features a computer room, small library, fitness room, communal kitchens and dining rooms, activity rooms for children and teens, and several common areas for the families to share.

How do you send mail to a patient staying at the House?

Mail must be sent in the patient's name or c/o the patient's name and include the room number if known. For expectant mothers, the mail should be sent c/o "Unborn (mom's last name)." Our mailing address is Ronald McDonald House at Stanford, 520 Sand Hill Road, Palo Alto, CA 94304.

What are the criteria for staying at Ronald McDonald House?

Please refer to the Accommodations page for detailed requirements.

How does one request a room?

New guests must be referred by a hospital Social Worker. Returning guests may self-refer by calling (650) 470-6000. Housing requests may also be submitted online.

How much does it cost to stay at the House?

The House requests a fee of $10 per night from each family. Third party payments are accepted. No family is ever turned away due to inability to pay.

What are the hours of the House?

The Front office is staffed Monday - Sunday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. For current guests, the House is accessible 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Is parking available at Ronald McDonald House at Stanford?

Yes, free parking is available for current guests who have a car.

What if I don't have a car?

The hospital provides routine shuttle service to and from the House every day. There are some stores and amenities within walking distance, most notably Stanford Shopping Center. Additionally, the House makes weekly, scheduled trips to Safeway and Walmart. There is also nearby public transportation.

How long can families stay at the House?

Families are welcome to stay as long as is medically necessary. Families depart when discharged by their physician from Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford.

Are meals provided at the House?

While the House does try to provide meals as often as possible, families are responsible for providing their own groceries—especially if they have special dietary requirements. Personal refrigerators and storage cabinets are available for each family to keep their food in. Breakfast pastries are donated daily by Starbucks. Meals for Munchkins, the House's supper program, recruits local businesses and restaurants to prepare a hot dinner for families several times per week. The House also maintains a pantry with a limited supply of staple items, to help supplement the families if they can't get to the grocery store. Milk is provided for families as well.

What do I need to bring to the House?

Families should bring clothing, toiletries, spending money, and anything else they would normally take for a stay at a hotel. Linens, towels, and bedding are provided.

When can I check in?

Families should arrive between 3 p.m. - 6 p.m., Sunday - Friday, or between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturdays. Please plan on the check-in process taking up to 40 minutes.

What time is check-out?

Families must check out of the House by 10 a.m. on the morning of their departure.

Are laundry facilities available?

Yes, free laundry facilities are provided for families staying at the House. Laundry soap and baskets are provided in each room.

Does the House provide child care services?

No, the House does not provide child care or babysitting services.