Having signed up to be a Host Family to provide short-term support and respite to parents and carers, *Mark and Cindy were a little anxious about their first assignment. But when the request came through for a mum needing to go to hospital with her youngest child who was having surgery, they couldn’t say no.
It was a difficult situation for Mum as she had no extended support network where her other children could stay while she was in hospital for the week and two of her boys have coeliac disease – an adverse reaction to gluten. That meant that they struggle with certain foods, such as pasta, cake, breakfast cereals, and most types of bread. Mum was concerned their needs wouldn’t be understood by someone unfamiliar with the disease.
This was explained to Mark and Cindy and they went to visit Mum to discuss the issue and put her mind at rest. Then Mark downloaded an app on his phone and went shopping for gluten-free foods; scanning different items to see if the boys would tolerate them or not.
Note from the Family Support Manager: “Had a brief chat with Cindy before she got to work this morning and they had a wonderful first night with the boys. By the time Cindy got home from work, Mark was in the middle of making pancakes for the boys (after going shopping and getting ingredients that they could eat), she said that the kitchen was filled with laughter and mess and it was great!”
Mum and the littlest son came out of hospital after a number of days and the boys went back to Mum. The volunteers adored having the boys come and stay and still keep in touch with the family.
Cindy said, “It was our first hosting and we were a bit anxious, especially as both boys were coeliacs. We needn’t have been. They were a delight to look after – well-behaved, good manners and put themselves to bed without even being prompted! Hats off to the mum who has done a fantastic job despite numerous difficulties.”
*names changed to protect identity
We need more volunteers to host children for short periods overnight. Would you consider opening your home for a few nights to a child in need?