Families and sick children staying at the Charlottesville Ronald McDonald House packed up their bags Monday. The house is getting a renovation and until the construction is complete, the families are on the move.
The University of Virginia is allowing the families to stay in one of its old, vacant dorms. The families are thrilled to have a place to go but that doesn't mean the move has been easy.
"It's upsetting; they're going through enough as it is so asking them to pack everything up and relocate is a huge ask but they understood by doing this we'll be able to help more families and that's what it's all about," said Rita Ralston, executive director of the Ronald McDonald House of Charlottesville.
Monday, the Ronald McDonald House was packed with construction workers and moving teams. The million-dollar renovation will include new floors, fresh paint, private bathrooms for every room, a new laundry room, and kitchen space.
"We're very grateful that UVA has offered us this space. It's going to allow us to serve a lot more families and I think that in the end that's what we want to do," said Stewart Ralston, volunteer coordinator at the Ronald McDonald House.
Until the house renovation is complete, families will stay at UVA's Courtenay dorm. The dorm does not have stoves so Ronald McDonald House is looking for donations of food that can be microwaved. It's also asking for donated fans, as the dorm doesn't have air conditioning.
"This was one of those that's slated for demolition at some point in the future and has temporary uses and while it's sitting idle we were able to jump in there and use it for a few months," Rita said.
Nine families moved into the dorm on Monday. Ronald McDonald House executives hope the renovation will be complete by the start of the New Year.