Mary Jane and Paul Dow
A story of giving back, as told by the incredible Mary Jane and Paul Dow:
In April 1998, our 1st grandchild, Andrew, was born in Virginia with a very severe heart defect requiring him to be medivaced from Washington Children’s Hospital to Philadelphia Children’s Hospital. We followed by car with our son and daughter-in-law. We had no idea where to stay or what to do, so we were relieved when the hospital social worker referred us to the Ronald McDonald House. It was one of the most amazing experiences in our life – the accommodations, meals and compassionate support. It was months before we could talk about our experience without getting teary. We vowed then that when we retired, we would volunteer at the Providence Ronald McDonald House. It was the only way we could even begin to repay what we were given.
It wasn’t until 2004 that we were able to start volunteering and now 10 years later we still love to volunteer.
Friends ask us what we do at Ronald McDonald House and our answer is “anything and everything that needs to be done.” This includes but is not limited to; admitting and discharging residents, preparing rooms for new residents, baking and prepping or serving meals, assisting with mailings, and answering phones. We also assist at special events such as the family Christmas Party, the House Reunion and the House Gala. I know it sounds overwhelming but we don’t do it all in 1 day, and we do take breaks and have fun. There are jobs for everyone, no matter what your talents and interest are. People more talented than us help with major maintenance issues. Paul has some physical limitations so he does computer work which is a help to the Staff.
Our interactions with other Volunteers and Staff are great. We feel like we’ve made many new friends at RMH Providence. Although we are assigned to a four hour shift on Tuesday afternoon, the staff is very understanding and flexible when life’s events interfere with our schedule.
We feel that we receive much more than we give to PRMH. Knowing that we can play a small role in the lives of the families at Providence Ronald McDonald House at a very difficult time is so rewarding.