Ronald McDonald House of Dallas Overcoming Challenges Amid Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic is impacting staff and families they care for

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The Ronald McDonald House of Dallas has been home to Miles Rivas and his parents since the 5-month-old baby had open heart surgery June 1.

It's a role the organization plays for many families who travel to Dallas-Fort Worth to get medical treatment for sick children.

“It gives us a sense of being normal because you talk to other families and they’re going through the same situation,” said Miles's father Javier Rivas. 

But because of COVID-19, there are restrictions on the number of family members who can come.

Miles’ older brother who is almost 2 had to stay behind.

“Right now he’s at home with our parents," mother Mariah Rivas said. "We FaceTime him a lot, so at least we get that."

Ronald McDonald House of Dallas CEO Jill Cumnock said a lot has changed because of the pandemic.

“We typically serve probably around 1,400 families a year. Right now we’re serving significantly less," she said.

There are also no more volunteers to greet families and do activities with kids.

“Typically in the summer is when our house is most full of life. And it feels so strange without that," Cumnock said. "A big part of what makes our house so special is our volunteers."

Even the way meals are served has changed.

“We can’t just wash dishes. We have to go to all paper products. Everything is single package. It’s just a much more expensive way to conduct business with the loss of revenue,” Cumnock said.

As the pandemic continues to take its toll, she estimates they have lost half a million dollars or more in revenue this year.

Luckily, community partners have stepped up to help.

Cumnock said Southwest Airlines donated hotel rooms to families to stay in at no cost to them.

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