General Help

The Des Moines Ronald McDonald House operates at its best with the help of volunteers. We get many requests from individuals and groups wanting to know how they can help. The following list will give you an idea of some popular volunteer opportunities. If there is something you have in mind that you don’t see on this list, please let us know. We are open to the great ideas that come directly from our volunteers.


Treat families to brownies or cookies. Bring in something you’ve purchased or use our kitchen to bake up something special.


This is a huge help! With 18 families staying here at one time, we are constantly cleaning. Cleaning can be done as a one time or regular volunteer opportunity.


Make Thanksgiving decorations for the doors, bake some Valentine’s cookies or provide Easter baskets for the families.


Water flowers, pull weeds and rake leaves. Help our yard look great for families staying at the House.

Pop Tabs

Every day, a generous donor comes to the door with a donation of pop tabs. Our pop tabs add up and we always need help sorting and delivering the tabs to the local metal recycler.

Relief Help

Provide relief help for vacations, holidays, or weekends. The need varies from a few hours to a weekend. Training is provided.

Special Events

Help with one of our fundraisers during the year that benefit Ronald McDonald House or donate an auction item.

Wish List

We use everything here at the House that you would use at home, except times 18! Collect needed items at your school, church or business. Click Here to see our current Wish List.

How You Can Help As A Relief Volunteer

The Des Moines Ronald McDonald House is able to accomplish its mission with the help of many Relief Volunteers. Relief Volunteers are an essential to running a House 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. As a Relief Volunteer, you are trained to “relieve” the staff when they are not here or cannot be at the front desk.

Here are ways Relief Volunteers dedicate their time:

  • Welcome any guests, families, volunteers or donors
  • Check families in or out
  • Provide tours
  • Answer the phone and door
  • Accept donations
  • Assist with household chores
  • Tidy up the kitchen, make a pot of coffee, share some hospitality
  • Just be there when guests need a friendly face or someone to talk to!

Time Commitment:

  • 3 or 4 hour shifts
  • Weekly, monthly, evening, weekend, or overnight
  • Minimum 6-month commitment requested for continuity
  • Invite a friend to volunteer with you

For more information or to schedule a time as an individual or group to volunteer, contact

Please Note…

We are often asked about opportunities to volunteer directly with children. However, we often don’t have a lot of children staying here because they are in the hospital receiving treatment. We are here to support their families so they can have a place to stay, that is close to their child, with all the comforts of home. Occasionally, if a child is being treated as an outpatient, they will stay with mom or dad at the Ronald McDonald House. But even then, all families spend most of their time at the hospital, especially during the day. For these reasons, it’s possible you will not see or have contact with any of the children or families we serve while volunteering.