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Ronald McDonald House opens new great hall and kitchen

$2.5 million expansion upgrades dining
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Posted at 10:14 AM, Oct 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-08 13:14:56-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - The Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego is opening a new kitchen and great room Tuesday following a $2.5 million renovation.

The new facility, located in the Ronald McDonald House next to Rady Children’s Hospital, will help the organization serve more than 125,000 meals per year to families who have children undergoing medical treatment in San Diego.

"We thought we'd serve 25,000 meals a year when we opened up 10 years ago," said Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego CEO Chuck Day. "We serve 125,000 meals here now, so it's cranking."

The new facility features improvements to the commercial kitchen and an upgraded family kitchen area where families can cook for themselves. There is also new flooring, solar-tube lighting, seating and art around the hall.

A $500,000 matching gift and endowment from the Joseph Clayes III Charitable Trust helped get the project started. Cash and in-kind donations from about 1,000 other people and organizations helped raise the rest of the money.

The Ronald McDonald House serves more than 15,000 family members every year while their loved ones go through treatment.

Marty Friedman, whose is staying there while his granddaughter Caitlin undergoes treatment, said the new dining area will help families feel more at ease.

"It's extremely important. It's where families can share," Friedman said. "It's where you can share your day, other things that are going on. You share what's going on in your family."

The organization will hold a grand reopening and "breaking of bread" ceremony Tuesday at 11:30 a.m., along with serving the first meal for lunch. They expect to have the new kitchens fully operational by the end of the week.

"We try to make the experience as best we can in a situation where the moms, dads, grandparents across the street are having a pretty tough day," said Day.