Donor Helps Purchase Furnishings for Family Room
Longtime Le Bonheur supporter and volunteer Mary Alice Quinn has helped furnish the Family Room on the second floor of FedExFamilyHouse. Her financial support helps bring families together during difficult times in a peaceful and comfortable environment.
The room is open to any family staying at FedExFamilyHouse and features a workstation with two computers and one printer. The room also includes books and reading materials, wing-back chairs, bean bag chairs for teens and a child’s size heart-shaped table and chairs.
Quinn, a newspaper journalist for nearly 40 years, has been a member of
Le Bonheur Club since 1972. When she took a tour of FedExFamilyHouse, Mary Alice saw the need to furnish the room as a “home away from home.” Working with Le Bonheur Foundation staff, Mary Alice funded the purchase of items to complete the room.
The furniture is dedicated in recognition of Mary Alice’s gift in honor of her parents, Yancey and Margaret Quinn.
“Memphis is fortunate to have a pediatric hospital such as Le Bonheur,” said Mary Alice. “Every city needs a great children’s hospital and so much of what Le Bonheur does reaches out so far.”
Mary Alice’s gift to FedExFamilyHouse was inspired by her love of children. “I absolutely adore children,” said Mary Alice. “To me, they are gifts from God.”
Volunteers Teach Knitting at FedExFamilyHouse
Every Thursday Gail Ray, Eloise Warfel, Joanne Olson and Maggie DeVault arrive at FedExFamilyHouse with their knitting baskets. They set out brightly colored balls of donated yarn and handmade knitting needles in the library and offer knitting and crocheting lessons to families staying at the FedExFamilyHouse.
“Knitting is really good for people who need something to do to get their mind off their problems,” said Eloise. “It’s rewarding for us to share our love of knitting with those who just need a smile. You never know who will be touched by knitting.”
The women met through the Memphis Knitting Guild established in 1997. The 52 Guild members from Memphis and surrounding communities including Oxford, Miss., and Jackson, Tenn., present knitting demonstrations throughout the year at workshops, museums, festivals, libraries and at The Delta Fair. The group also provides slippers for area hospice patients and chemo caps for women undergoing cancer treatment.
Gail, Eloise, Joanne and Maggie chose FedExFamilyHouse as their special community project last August.
Guild members are currently taking turns knitting a four-foot square blanket featuring the Le Bonheur stitched-heart logo in red on a Le Bonheur blue background to be auctioned at the FedExFamilyHouse “Home Is Where the Heart Is” gala on April 12.
“We are so thankful we can do this for the families,” said Gail. “I just love to see their eyes light up when moms and kids realize they can knit!”
FedEx Express Crew Stirs Up Sweet Treats
Jennifer Schaeffer calls upon her co-workers at FedEx Express on Airways once a month to help whip up some sweet treats for the families at FedExFamilyHouse.
“Each month we try to fix something a little different,” she says, while mixing a batch of Oreo cookie balls. “We’ve made Rice Crispy Treats, yogurt parfaits and banana, chocolate and strawberry shortcake cups. Everyone contributes ideas and we find new recipes online.”
Jennifer, along with Jared Ford and Tanya Hooks - who have all worked together since 2007 - enlisted the helping hands of others in their office of about 60. When not scheduling FedEx pilots for flights, they stir their imaginations by volunteering on their days off to make desserts for families staying at FedExFamilyHouse.
“It’s something to do on our days off and gets us together outside of the office,” says Jared. “We just like to do nice things for people,” adds Jennifer.
“We love this place,” says Tanya. “We hope to take a load off the families so they won’t have to worry about snacks.”
The baking trio solicits help from their co-workers who contribute funds and baking supplies and prepare the treats.
Interestingly, none them personally knows any Le Bonheur families or any families who have stayed at the FEFH.
“We never really meet the families,” says Jennifer. “We know they are going through a tough time and we might say ‘hello’ when they walk by, but we try to stay in the background and let them decompress while there are here.”
The team is proud to support the house.
“We work for FedEx and the FedEx name is on the house,” adds Jared. “It’s just an outlet to fill our tanks once a month.”
Help from Afar
Ryan Carrigan was diagnosed with a brain tumor when he was five years old. Living north of Nashville, he received most of his treatment from Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. In August 2012, after he was diagnosed with a cataract, physicians referred the Carrigan family to Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis to seek further care for their child.
Upon arriving in Memphis, the Carrigans learned they would stay at FedExFamilyHouse, a home away from home for families of children receiving treatment at Le Bonheur. Ryan's mom, Mary Lee, loved that her son was not stuck in a hotel room. When Ryan wasn't receiving treatment, he could play like a kid.
The Carrigans soon returned home to Nashville. Mary Lee told her neighbor, Angie McDowell, about their time at Le Bonheur and FedExFamilyHouse.
Once Angie heard about the Carrigan’s wonderful experience, she wanted to give back to FedExFamilyHouse in their honor.
When Angie searched for information about FedExFamilyHouse, she saw that it was a community built with love. That evening Angie told her son Ryan and husband Randy about FedExFamilyHouse, and they all decided to help.
The McDowells have a desire for their son Ryan to become a Tennessee scholar, and one requirement of that is community service. Randy and Angie wanted their son to stick with one organization for all of his service, and so they decided to adopt FedExFamilyHouse.
Soon Ryan was meeting with employees at his mother’s work and was passing out letters to many of their neighbors. In August 2012, Ryan and his family had their first donation drive, and it was very well received. Ryan has plans to get his neighbors, local businesses, and his church’s youth group involved this year.
The generosity and hard work displayed by the McDowell family has been a wonderful tribute to FedExFamilyHouse and the Carrigan family. Although the McDowells are just one family, their contributions will have an effect on many other families staying at FedExFamilyHouse.