SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Helping families feel at home even when they can’t be. The Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central New York celebrated a major milestone on Tuesday… 40 years.

For four decades, its been a “home away from home” for families with children in the hospital in Syracuse.

“40 years of care, compassion, hope, and kindness,” says Beth Trunfio, executive director at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central New York.

The Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central New York opened its doors in 1982 on Thanksgiving Day. The non-profit started as a single-family house with six guest rooms and a few shared bathrooms. Before quickly expanding in 1984 to a second home with 16 guest rooms and 12 shared bathrooms.

“In 2012 we opened this new larger fully handicap accessible home that was built to be a Ronald McDonald House and to serve really all the special unique needs that families have,” says Trunfio.

Now able to serve 25 families an evening, the Ronald McDonald House gives families a sense of normalcy.

“When families are together and when they are actively engaged in the health and those health care decisions for their child then the child does better,” says Trunifo.

The Ronald McDonald House is looking towards the future. The non-profit is looking at plans to develop guest family suites on the fourth floor, hoping to serve even more families.

Trunfio added, “Also to reach out into the Central New York region and expand our programs and really bring that Ronald McDonald House hospitality into the hospital and clinic setting.”

Keeping families close and connected when it’s needed the most.

The Ronald McDonald House is supported and funded by the community and its mission has remained the same since opening 40 years ago.

Click here to learn more about the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central New York.