Ronald McDonald House needs funds, food to help families of hospitalized children

For Joyelle Stramiello and Will Suter finding time to spend together hasn't been easy since the birth of their daughter Ella. She was born with a hole in her diaphragm and underwent surgery when she was just a day old.

"So, now we are just here to wait until her little lungs get bigger and stronger then we can take her home," Stramiello said. 

Until then they are staying at the Ronald McDonald House in St. Pete. It provides free shelter and food for parents of sick children in the hospital. 

"We partner with the hospitals with the four houses," explained Joe Citro, director of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Tampa Bay. "Three in St. Petersburg and one in Tampa, to take about 2,000 families a year that come through our doors.”

The houses usually have people come in and prepare meals for the families, but, because of the coronavirus, no one but essential personnel is allowed in the buildings. That means the charities are having a hard time feeding the families and need monetary donations from the community. 

Lisa Suprenand, executive director of the charities, said, "As long as these families and children need care, we will be here for them. So please community help us to feed and support these families during their greatest crisis. We know the restaurant business is taking a big hit, so we partner with food trucks and different restaurants in St Petersburg to try and feed our families."  

"It’s definitely been a blessing,” Stamiello said. “I know it’s been a blessing for us and a blessing for the other families." 

Click here to see how you can help.