Home / Community / Ronald McDonald House Charities® of San Diego Completes Renovation of Kitchen and Joseph Clayes III Great Room
Breaking bread to celebrate the reopening of the Joseph Clayes III Great Room and Kitchen. (Photo courtesy: Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego)

Ronald McDonald House Charities® of San Diego Completes Renovation of Kitchen and Joseph Clayes III Great Room

Renovations Will Better Serve Families of Hospitalized Children

San Diego CA— To expand meal service and better care for families with hospitalized children, Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego’s Joseph Clayes III Great Room is reopening after a complete renovation this summer. The newly transformed space includes guest reception and family gathering areas, as well as dining room, family kitchen and a commercial kitchen that serves more than 120,000 meals a year.

President and CEO Chuck Day presenting Trulette Clayes with art made by guest of Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego (Photo courtesy: Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego)

Each year, more than 15,000 people come to San Diego’s Ronald McDonald House for meals during their child’s treatment at a San Diego hospital. Meal service is provided three times daily year-round, free of cost to family members with a hospital-issued wristband. Beverages and snacks are available outside of mealtimes, and families may also use cooking stations to prepare their own food and enjoy the comforts of home.

The renovation was funded by generous community donations, including a $500,000 matching gift and endowment from the Joseph Clayes III Charitable Trust to the ‘More Than a Meal’ campaign for Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego. For every community dollar donated to this vital project, the Clayes Trust directed an equal amount to create the Joseph Clayes III Meal Program Endowment. This new endowment will ensure support of the Ronald McDonald House meal program for years to come.

The renovation made significant improvements to ventilation, lighting, counters, flooring and more. The commercial kitchen has a new floor plan with several new appliances, including a walk-in refrigerator and a much-needed commercial-grade dishwasher and washing station. A new, more effective layout features upgraded family cooking stations and access to a large, well-stocked family refrigerator and pantry. A new wall increases privacy between the House’s commercial and family kitchens. The layout also assists in receiving and distributing food items more efficiently, as the House pursues increased food donations and further growth.

“Since 2009, the House has served more than a million meals to families with a hospitalized child,” said Chuck Day, president and CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego. “The original kitchen was not designed for the heavy use it’s received. These renovations help us keep up with increasing demand and create the best environment for families to gather and enjoy the next million meals. We are truly grateful to the Joseph Clayes III Charitable Trust for making this renovation possible and continuing to support families in their time of need.”

“Families get more than a plate of food when they come to the Ronald McDonald House,” said Trulette Clayes, niece of philanthropist Joseph Clayes III. “The ‘home-away-from-home’ environment gives them a place to rest and renew themselves so they can continue to provide strength for their hospitalized child. It is with great honor that the Joseph Clayes III Charitable Trust contributed in transforming this emotional and physical sanctuary for families going through the unthinkable.”

In 2013, the Clayes Charitable Trust’s inaugural gift to the House created the Joseph Clayes III Endowment Fund with a $3.5 million gift, providing a permanent, unrestricted source of funding for the House. This most recent $500,000 contribution carries on the extraordinary legacy of transformational giving by the Joseph Clayes III Charitable Trust.

Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego relies on over 500 volunteer groups each year to prepare and serve meals. If interested in serving or donating food items please visit: rmhcsd.org/get-involved/serve-a-meal/or email: mealprogram@rmhcsd.org

Support was provided by individuals, community groups, foundations and corporations. Special thanks to major gifts provided by: Joseph A. W. Clayes III Charitable Trust; JMS Fund; Letitia Swortwood Wheat; McDonald’s Local Franchisees; the Caster Family, Owners of A-1 Self Storage; David C. Copley Foundation; RMHC Global; SDG&E, Sempra Energy & Sempra Energy Foundation; Walter J. & Betty C. Zable Foundation; Doug Dawson; Ellen Browning Scripps Foundation; Pnina & Bar-Giora Goldberg; GT Foundation; Kenneth T. & Eillen L. Norris Foundation; Melvin Garb Foundation; Diane & David Pennock; San Diego County Board of Supervisors; San Diego Woman’s Club; Watkins Wellness; AD Interior Design; Atlas; DA-LITE; Iconik Builders; J-Zap Enterprises; Lahaina; MediaCentric Integration, Inc; Middle Atlantic Products Inc.; MMDI Inc.; Sola Salon Studios; Sunbelt Rentals; and United Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electric.


About Ronald McDonald House Charities

Founded in 1980, Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego provides a “home-away-from-home,” which keeps families close to one another and the care they need when their child is being treated for serious, often life-threatening conditions at local hospitals. San Diego’s Ronald McDonald House was specifically designed to provide the necessities of home – including 56 guest suites, a kitchen and a children’s play area – to help strengthen families and bolster their psychological well-being during difficult times regardless of their situation or ability to pay. The Ronald McDonald House creates an emotional and physical sanctuary for over 15,000 family members each year. To learn more, visit rmhcsd.org.

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