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Children's Charity Plans Worldwide Expansion


A major non-profit organization helping children says more and more youngsters are in need of its assistance worldwide. The Ronald McDonald House Charities announced Tuesday a goal to raise $600 million over the next four years to help children all over the world. From VOA's New York Bureau, Mona Ghuneim reports.

The charity's president Marty Coyne says almost every Ronald McDonald House in the world is full every night and that the organization has had to turn families away. The organization owns and runs what it calls the Ronald McDonald Houses where families can stay for little or no cost as long as necessary, while children receive treatment at chronic care facilities nearby.

Coyne says that over the next four years, the group is planning its biggest expansion ever. "We will be adding 68 new Ronald McDonald Houses, 56 new Family Rooms and another 54 Ronald McDonald Care Mobiles. So we'll be adding 2,000 bedrooms [worldwide] to the Ronald McDonald House and I hate to say that, but it still won't be enough," he said.

The organization, funded in part by McDonald's Restaurants but not owned or operated by the company, announced its new fundraising initiative on World Children's Day Tuesday. Coyne said more and more children worldwide are in need of medical care today, whether from a chronic illness or complications from injuries received during war. .

Coyne says the group is active in almost 50 countries and will be expanding worlwide. "That's where we are expanding the most - internationally. Out of that 68 new Ronald McDonald Houses, I would say probably 60 are going to be expanded throughout the world," he said.

The group estimates that the new initiative will be able to help an additional 500,000 people globally. The first Ronald McDonald House opened its doors in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1974.