Donors Create a Lighter and Brighter Refuge for Families
It was a long summer of being closed for renovation, but our kitchens and main gathering areas are open again and better than ever! This October, we celebrated the Grand Reopening of our Joseph Clayes III Great Room and the completion of our More Than a Meal campaign to fund renovations and strengthen our meal program for the thousands of families who come for nourishment while caring for their hospitalized children.
San Diego is unique among Ronald McDonald House locations nationwide in that we are open to families not staying overnight. In the past decade, more than 100,000 people have made use of our House for naps, showers, and other life necessities. Our community-supported meal program has served more than a million meals.
It’s turned into an incredible resource for families, and after a decade of heavy use, renovations were in order. From reception to refrigerators, we’re thrilled with the results!
As you move into the Joseph Clayes III Great Room, you’ll see that the whole space is brighter thanks to tubular skylights. Flexible seating areas give families a place to reconnect away from the hospital.
Further in at the meal service counter, families find a salad bar, soup, and the day’s hot meal before gathering at the dining room’s new tables and chairs. Lighter flooring, a Van Gogh mural wall, and bright tile accents contribute to a cheerful and peaceful environment.
Some of the biggest changes are behind the scenes in the kitchen areas. The family kitchen, where long-term guests may prepare their own food, has new ventilation, a reach-through self-serve community refrigerator, and combination-locked personal refrigerators.
The commercial kitchen is now fully separated from the family kitchen. Its new layout and energy-efficient industrial appliances are designed to better accommodate the high-volume meal service we now provide to families—we serve around 150 people at each mealtime, three times daily, 365 days a year. A commercial grade dish washing station will be much appreciated by our staff and volunteer teams!
Celebrating the Joseph Clayes III Meal Program Endowment
Trulette Clayes was introduced to our House in 2010 and has become a steadfast supporter. With co-Trustee Brendan Holmes, the Joseph A.W. Clayes III Charitable Trust previously made a transformative endowment gift of $3.5 million to our House. Their most recent $500,000 challenge grant to motivate donations to the More Than a Meal campaign helped achieve our $2.5 million project goal. It also created the Joseph Clayes III Meal Program Endowment. Annual returns from this endowment will provide steady funding to help sustain meal service for years to come.