Ronald McDonald House of the Red River Valley - The House that Love Built


December 10, 2014

Double your gifts #forRMHC

It’s true, RMHC supporters are the BEST! Thank you for all your wonderful gifts in support #forRMHC and our red and white stripes campaign. But there’s still time to show your stripes!


In fact, this holiday season our friends Steven Lind & Todd Axtman, McDonald’s of Fargo, Moorhead, West Fargo owner operators, want to inspire you to give. They have committed to matching donations from now until the end of the year up to $10,000 to support the families who have children receiving medical care in Fargo-Moorhead area.



For a donation of $15 or more, you can not only cover the cost of what families are unable to pay, but you can get a pair of red and white striped socks (while supplies last). Don’t forget, donations through the end of the year will be doubled up to $10,000!


We hope you will support us and use your voice #forRMHC because healing happens together. You can make a contribution to help us meet our match online here or by calling 701-232-3980.


Contact Erica at or 701-232-3980 for more information or questions.



December 3, 2014

The Smith Family

When the Smith family traveled to North Dakota last Christmas to visit family, they were not expecting the present that they got to bring home.


Tanya & Rance Smith traveled from Gray, Tennessee for Christmas in North Dakota. On Christmas night, Tanya experienced premature rupture of the membrane 13 weeks earlier than the family was expecting to add to their family of two.


The family rushed from Ellendale, ND to Essentia Health in Fargo where Tanya was put on bedrest and where they would be for the next seven and a half weeks.


River Eden Smith was born on January 11th, 2014 at 3 lbs. 6 oz. That’s where the Ronald McDonald House comes in. Rance and Tanya were amazed when they called and there was not a long list of criteria to stay. They were sure that they would not qualify, but they had a baby in the hospital so they could stay.


Rance mentioned something that meant the most to them was, “…the fact that people there actually ‘listened’ to us and our story…they made us feel at home. The attitudes that permeated the walls were infectious, the smiles contagious, and there was always someone there…it was our safe haven.”


The doctors said the most important thing to help River grow and get strong enough to go home was time with her parents. Rance and Tanya made sure that she knew that mommy and daddy were there. Without the Ronald McDonald House they couldn’t be there every day to touch her, talk to her, and sing to her.


The House was not only a roof over their heads and a place of comfort, it was the first place where River got to come home. River was able to leave her isollette, but before heading home to Tennessee they had to make sure she was ready for the trip. The Ronald McDonald House was Rance and Tanya’s first experience of real-life with River as her parents.


Rance and Tanya mentioned they are not sure what they would have done without the House, “We slept well, we ate well and we were taken care of. The staff and volunteers were there to lend a hand, an ear & a shoulder. Having that assurance and security of feeling safe and taken care of allowed us to recover from the initial impact, gain strength and nurture from our surroundings.”



October 6, 2014




We show our red and white stripes as a symbol of the work we do to keep families together when their child is fighting illness or injury at little or no cost. Families are asked to pay just $15 per night if able, but no family is turned away for inability to pay.

This fall, we encourage you to show your stripes and share the message #forRMHC!

  • Share your photo on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram with the hashtag #forRMHC
  • Wear red and white stripes
  • Decorate your desk or office with stripes
  • Have an office red and white day

Need stripes? We have you covered!  For a donation of $15 or more, you can not only cover the cost of what families are unable to pay, but you can get a pair of red and white striped socks (while supplies last). Even better, donations during the month of October will be doubled up to $5,000 thanks to an anonymous donor.

We hope you will support us and use your voice #forRMHC because healing happens together.

Contact Erica at or 701-232-3980 for more information on how you can participate. Make a secure online donation here or mail check to: 1330 18th Ave S, Fargo ND 58103.



September 9, 2014

Bixby from RMHC

Today is National Teddy Bear Day! I’m not sure about you but when I was little I had to bring my teddy bear everywhere. Teddy bears can bring comfort, familiarity, and hugs. Early this years we were excited to use our teddy bear, Bixby, to share the story of the comfort that RMHC brings to families whose children are receiving medical care.

Bixby traveled around Fargo-Moorhead to share the message about the Ronald McDonald House keeping families close when they need it most.

First, Bixby stopped at the Fargo-Moorhead Greater Economic Development Corporation

Bixby went on to share the RMHC story with friends at Gate City Bank, Sanford, Fargo Fire Department, Fargo Public Library, Cats Cradle, Red Raven, Skate Shop, & Teaberry!




Thanks to everyone who helped Bixby spread the word about the comfort that RMHC brings to families whose children are receiving medical care.


Happy Teddy Bear Day!



August 26, 2014

Pop tabs for RMHC

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For such a small item, pop tabs certainly have an impact on our House and on the families who make RMHC their ‘Home Away From Home’ while their children are receiving medical care in our community.


But what started this #PopTabsforRMHC pandemonium?


The simple idea of collecting a pop tab began in 1987 at the Minneapolis/St. Paul Ronald McDonald House community. The ‘Twin Cities’ ran the pop tab recycling fundraiser and collected one million tabs. It was such a success that other Ronald McDonald Houses decided to give #PopTabsforRMHC a try.


The Ronald McDonald House of the Red River Valley started collecting pop tabs in 1989. By word of mouth, dedicated supporters and advocates in the community of all ages, our #PopTabsforRMHC collection has grown steadily over the past 25 years. Each year we have a goal to collect over $5,000 worth of pop tabs and we are honored to partner with schools, businesses, families and individuals throughout the community to accomplish this goal each year.

Pulling, popping or twisting tabs from pop, vegetable, soup, pet food or tennis ball cans allow the Ronald McDonald House of the Red River Valley to provide a ‘Home Away From Home’ for hundreds of families each year. But why not collect the entire can? Although the whole aluminum can is valuable, the tab is much cleaner and easier to collect in large quantities than whole cans. The tab of a standard soda can is made of high quality high-grade aluminum. By itself, it doesn’t mean much, but when you pull together, pop-tabs add up and become a valuable donation to your local Ronald McDonald House.

To support the Ronald McDonald House of the Red River Valley, collect your tabs in a container of your choice or in a Pop Tab House which are available upon request by contacting Christie at 701-232-3980 or Once your container is full you can…

  1. Deliver them to one of the Ronald McDonald Houses in Fargo located at 1330 18th Ave S or 1234 N Broadway any day between the hours of 9:00 AM and 8:00 PM. (We’ll also give you a tour of the House so you can see first-hand the accommodations we provide for families while their child is receiving medical care.)
  2. Take them directly to a recycling center where the tabs are weighed and valued at the current market value. Then mail the check to the Ronald McDonald House of the Red River Valley at 1330 18th Ave S, Fargo ND 58103.


Pop tabs remind us of an important lesson- even little things make a big difference. Collecting #PopTabsforRMHC is an easy and fun task for everyone to lend support to children and their families.



April 26, 2013

Internship: A Ronald McDonald House Experience

We are sad to say that our intern, Christie, will be finishing finals and heading on to her fun summer plans next week. Before she can go too far, we had her write another blog about the second half of her internship experience. Check it out!


Making a House a Home


My 15 weeks at the House have gone by in a flash and now it is time to reflect on my experience.


I worked on a variety of projects during my time; my favorite being the design of the Annual Report. I created new pages which focused on the three main events: Sweetheart Ball, Golf Tournament, and Ride. Constructing a page which promoted the accomplishments of each event and the hard work put forth by the House and Committees was exciting. The efforts to make the events possible are extraordinary and they deserve to be better recognized.

Keep an eye out for the Annual Report to be released- you’ll be inspired by the work constantly being done by the House.


The RMH gives families comfort and support during difficult times. Additionally, the sense of community is felt on all floors. On any given day you will most likely hear laughter and stories being told in the corner office- Erica’s office. This is where I spend most of my time when I’m at the House. I have gotten to know Erica very well and we are constantly discovering new things we have in common. I’m honored to call her a friend. She has inspired me to pursue my passions and set challenging goals for myself.

If you don’t know Erica, you’re missing out!


Currently the RMH is developing new strategies which bring more families, volunteers, and donors to the House. It is amazing being part of a House focused future growth potential. My internship experience allowed me to grow as well. I was challenged, inspired, and trusted to do my best at all projects. Everyday I learned something new about myself and the staff members. This internship experience has encouraged me to continue pursing my passion in non-profits.

I have made the Ronald McDonald House my Home.


I hope you got a sense of the experiences I had while interning at the House. With welcoming arms and kind hearts, the RMH gladly opens their doors to families in need. I encourage you to take an hour and come by the House to visit. Take part in the experience that makes this House and Home to many families- and interns.


March 6, 2013

RMHC: An intern’s story

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As I scrape another layer of fresh snow off my car and cautiously drive down the road, a feeling of excitement fills the car as I near my destination. I arrive at the big yellow house and immediately start getting energized. Hello, my name is Christie Gleason and I am the newest addition to the Fargo Ronald McDonald House family – the intern.


I started my internship during the planning the biggest event of the year: the Sweetheart Ball. Give me an event filled with fancy dresses, good food, and a meaningful cause, and I’m ready to help in any way. My first task was to learn how to use the tempered and opinionated printer in order to scan each of the donation items. After making friends with the printer and organizing the donation items, I began to make phone calls asking for additional support for the event. Before I knew it, the list of donations that needed to be picked up grew quickly. Eager to see the items that were donated I offered my services to go pick them up. With every pick-up the realization of the event’s approaching date also began to fill the car; it was less than one week away.


Arriving at the hotel the morning of the event, I saw the organized chaos quickly begin. The committee members and volunteers were hard at work getting the donation items organized and decorations placed throughout the room. The room began to feel elegant and the wait was finally over! The 24th annual SHB would be starting in a few hours.


As the guests began to rush in from the cold, my work began. Checking everyone in allowed me to personally welcome each guest and wish them a night full of laughter and fun. The event was off to a great start and I started to appreciate the event for its true meaning; supporting families who are in need. The family who was honored at the event gave a very meaningful testimony of their stay at the Ronald McDonald House reminding everyone of the true meaning of event. The Ronald McDonald House Charities is a respected, trustworthy, and caring organization and I am extremely honored to be a part of this family.


Immediately after the SHB was over, another big event for the Ronald McDonald House was approaching – Giving Hearts Day. This is an entire day focused on the power of giving and the impact it can make for organizations who serve the community. An important part of my internship is to promote this event by sending out postcards, emails, and posting to social media cites. Through the implementation of new strategies for awareness and generous donations, GHD was a huge success! Thank you to everyone who donated, we greatly appreciate your support.


With the final touches of the Sweetheart Ball and Giving Hearts Day completed, it is time to work on new tasks, learn more about the organization, and gain new experiences. Having this internship has been a blessing and I am lucky to spend a few more weeks here at the House.


Until next time,



February 26, 2013

The legacy of the Shamrock Shake

Okay, okay… so we haven’t blogged in a long time. Well, consider this a TREAT! I was thinking about all the awesome stuff I could tell you and really wanted to share this fun story, that a lot of you might not know!


I don’t know about you, but i LOVE Shamrock Shakes… LOVE them! I don’t know what it is, but there is something about that delicious shake that I just can’t get enough of, so when I heard this story I was so excited to share it with the world.


The Shamrock Shake:

Rob Mercer

A beloved treat with a legacy of love

Since first launching in the U.S. in 1970, the Shamrock Shake has built an almost cult-like following. Fans eagerly await its annual return to the menu for those magical few weeks leading up to the St. Patrick’s Day holiday. But the beloved minty green treat has another legacy that even its most loyal fans may not know.

It all began with a little girl, a football team, and a visionary doctor. When Philadelphia Eagles tight end Fred Hill’s 3-year-old daughter, Kim, was being treated for leukemia in 1974, his life changed. He and his wife, Fran, camped out on hospital benches and sat in cramped waiting rooms during Kim’s three years of treatment. The Hills watched other parents and families of seriously ill children do the same thing. Many of the families had to travel long distances for their children to receive medical treatment and couldn’t afford hotel rooms.

The Hills knew there had to be a solution. Fred rallied the support of his teammates to raise funds. Through Jim Murray, the Eagles’ general manager, the team offered its support to Dr. Audrey Evans, head of the pediatric oncology unit at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Evans had long dreamed of a “home away from home” for families of children being treated at her hospital.

Murray called Don Tuckerman, a friend from the local McDonald’s advertising agency. “What’s your next promotion?” he asked. “St Patrick’s Day,” Tuckerman said. “Shamrock Shakes.”

It was perfect: The milkshakes were green – the Eagles’ color! With the support of McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc and regional manager Ed Rensi, Tuckerman launched a week-long promotion around the Shamrock Shake, with all profits to be donated to the cause.
Enough funds were raised to help buy an old four-story, seven-bedroom house Evans had found near the hospital. It opened in 1974 as the first Ronald McDonald House.

The network of Houses grew quickly after that, offering families around the world a way to stay together in proximity to the hospital where their child was being treated, and be comfortable and cared for during their stay. In 2012, RMHC plans to build 16 Ronald McDonald Houses, 12 Ronald McDonald Family Rooms and 5 Ronald McDonald Care Mobiles.

Now that’s a reason to celebrate the return of the Shamrock Shake.


How neat is that?!


If you don’t already, make sure you follow us on Twitter: @RMHCFargo & check out our Facebook Page: for more fun facts and stories about RMHC & the families we serve.




August 17, 2012

Sharing Comfort When it’s Needed Most

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We are so fortunate to have some amazing groups and individuals that donate quilts to us at the Ronald McDonald House! One of the cool things that we get to do is give each of our families a quilt to use and take with them when they get to go home. I love blankets and quilts and they are such a huge form of comfort for everyone. Each of our families gets to feel that comfort while they are with us and then take a piece of us home with them.


A lot of our quilts also come with unique stories about how they were made… In classrooms, church circles, grandmother/granddaughter projects, family bonding, and more. No matter the story, each of our quilts are made with a little extra love!


Last week, we were fortunate enough to get a huge gift of these quilts! Mary Dahlen has been hand-painting quilts for as long as she can remember. Mary has a large family and made quilts for each of her kids when they were little and found a love for this art form. She has been hand painting quilts as a form of relaxation and fun.


Mary works at the Shooting Star Casino in Mahnomen and teamed up with them to get some blankets to use for her hobby. Shooting Star Casino donated blankets to Mary to be made into quilts and donated to an organization. Theresa Flocken of Shooting Star Casino mentioned the Ronald McDonald House and Mary went to work.


Mary has a huge heart and made the trip to Fargo last week to donate 60 quilts to the Ronald McDonald House. Each of the quilts were hand painted with Disney princesses, cartoon characters, football teams, & fun animals and landscapes!


We are so excited to share these quilts with our families and continue to provide comfort when it is needed most.


A huge thank you goes out to all our quilters- you help us make a huge difference in the lives of the families that walk through out doors everyday!

Mary & Development Coordinator, Erica


Mary Dahlen & Theresa Flocken – Shooting Star Casino


August 9, 2012

A Summer at RMHC

If you follow our Facebook page you know that we’ve been fortunate enough to have a Philanthropy And Youth intern this summer through the Barry Foundation! If you don’t follow us on Facebook, shame on you! Follow here :) Our intern, Josie, wrote a blog on her last day reflecting back on the summer she has had with us. Read below!


Hi there! I’m Josie Perhus and it’s my last day as an intern for the Ronald McDonald House of the Red River Valley.  I was here for 9 weeks, 40 hours a week, through the Philanthropy and Youth program with The Barry Foundation. I’m going to miss it here so much! Everyone’s been so nice and they all do truly wonderful work here. It’s been amazing to see how giving everyone is and see how helpful they are to the families we serve and it is so great to have been a part of.


I’m 16 and I’m going to be a junior at Shanley High School this year and I can’t imagine going back to school after working full time! It’s such a change. It’s going to be so weird not coming in to work every morning.


Not to worry, though. I filled out a volunteer application a few days ago. They can’t get rid of me that easily. :)


I’m so grateful for this experience and I can’t even express to you how much I’ve learned. From people skills to computer skills to mail merge to using the paper folder to everything else you could imagine! (If you’ve never used a paper folder I highly suggest you find one and use it before you die.)


I helped with making some binders for our guests that include history of the house, rules of the house, local activities, local places of worship, and local transportation. I also helped with numerous volunteer things such as organizing data in their database, creating folders for volunteer orientations, and totaling hours of volunteers. I did these things as well as numerous mailings and other random things that needed to be done.


This has prepared me for so much in my future and I am so thankful for the staff here taking time out of their days to teach me and help me help the Ronald McDonald House. It’s been so amazing.


That’s all from me. Thanks for reading my rambling and have a great day!


Watch this short video for more about Josie & her experience!