Debby Hunter-Mills and Graeme Mills
The Mills Family learned about Hospitality Homes from a member of their church who had been a host for many years as her children were growing up. She said it had been the best experience for her children and left them with a lasting legacy of being hospitable to others.
“We have been hosting since 2006. Our children are grown up now, but over the years they learned the gift of hospitality and consider it normal to open our home to strangers — simply people we do not yet know, as our friends,” says Debby.
“We have met people from around the country and the world. It is always a privilege when we get to learn the life story of a guest, and it is always humbling — we learn so much from them. Hosting for Hospitality Homes is a gift we give ourselves,” she says.
Melina, Benji, Christopher and Theodore
Melina, Benji, Christopher and Theodore have been hosting since 2017.
“When we moved into a beautiful home in Washington Square in Brookline, we knew that we wanted to share our good fortune with others. However, with two young children, we struggled to find volunteer opportunities that they could participate in fully. Hospitality Homes is the answer and has enriched our lives in countless ways!”
“Every family we have hosted is special to us and we have formed deep friendships with people who we never would have met otherwise,” Melina says. “We have hosted families from as far away as Singapore and Peru, trading stories about life over homemade noodles or other treats.”
Say adds that, “One family from Oklahoma that has been coming to Boston every few months is now considered a part of our family. We celebrated their son’s first birthday with him on the eve of his surgery and we have seen him grow up, with our kids considering him a younger sibling.”
This family chose these three words to describe their Hospitality Homes experience: Love, Understanding and Connection.
Dorothy Crawford and Ross Hoffman
“We first learned about Hospitality Homes when I was accompanying a friend to Dana-Farber for an infusion. While I was waiting, I noticed a Hospitality Homes brochure. I was intrigued, because we had already hosted friends of friends who needed to be in Boston for radiation,” Dorothy says.
“We have met such amazing families through Hospitality Homes. Their experiences have given us valuable perspective on what matters in life as well as how lucky we are to live in such a medical mecca.”
Dorothy and Ross have been hosting since 2007. They’ve been able to host during the pandemic because they have a separate apartment. In 2020 alone they offered over 200 nights of housing.
Sara and Kumar Nochur
Sara and Kumar have been hosting since 2003, and Sara is now Hospitality Homes Board Chair as well.
“We have hosted scores of families over the years and have met many wonderful people who showed remarkable fortitude, courage and grace when facing very difficult and sometimes incurable health issues,” Sara said in a guest blog post for Mass Bio.
“Boston is often their last resort, having tried many options in their hometowns before coming here. It is a constant reminder to us of what one must not take for granted, whether it is overall good health, or access to good healthcare.”
The Newton and Brookline Tabs featured Sara and Kumar for their service to Hospitality Homes in this article: Local families open their doors through Brookline’s Hospitality Homes charity.
Mary and Mike McConnell
The McConnells have been part of Hospitality Homes for more than 25 years.
“Our first family was an Ecuadorian Indian dad and son who helped us put up our Christmas tree and charmed us thoroughly. We’ve had a mom waiting to give birth to twins from Nantucket, and a mom with triplet boys from Tanzania! We have had folks stay for a night, and folks stay for three months! We have had as young as a newborn and people in their 90s … and all have given us precious moments to appreciate.”
“We could describe our Hospitality Homes experience as transforming…we have been able to see the world through the eyes of those who suffer, and those who care for the suffering. We could describe it as gratifying … being able to support those who need it, right when they need it! And we would describe it as world-expanding … we have friends on every continent (except Antarctica and Australia) who have stayed in our home!”
The McConnells were featured for their service as hosts on NBC 10 Boston.
“I have been hosting since 2010 and have hosted guests from China to Maine. I have hosted Mandarin speakers and Spanish speakers. I have hosted grandparents, parents, spouses, partners and children. I have hosted a fireman and his wife from Maine, a daughter who put her life on hold and spent three months with me while her mom went through surgery and rehab. I could go on forever!” says Anu, who is also a Hospitality Homes Board member.
“Everyone has been so grateful to have a stress free environment to come to after a long day at the hospital with their loved one. I have received many blessings, good wishes and invitations to guests’ homes. I am grateful that I can provide this facility and proud that such an organization exists in my hometown!”
In 2016, Anu received a Point of Lights Award for her volunteer service with Hospitality Homes. You can read more about Anu’s generosity and award in the print edition of ‘Dr. Oz, The Good Life.’
Family from Brookline
“Our newborn spent three months in Boston hospitals. We visited him daily but met many people who could only see their children over the weekend because they lived so far away. With all we were going through, we were grateful to have access to the medical care we needed only minutes away…
“Hospitality Homes has enabled us to actively give tzedakah as a family – the Jewish value for being charitable and generous – just by living our daily lives. We don’t have to go out of our way to help someone in need – and make things just a little bit better during an otherwise challenging and frightening time.”
Judy has been hosting guests since 2008. She also served on the Hospitality Homes Board.
She says, “I have met some wonderful, appreciative families and feel good that I can do a small part to make them comfortable in a home environment. Everyone has a story to tell, and I have been exposed to many people whom I would never have otherwise met. It is a gift.”
In 2014, Judy was awarded the Myra Kraft Community MVP award by The New England Patriots Foundation.
“I can’t think of anything that is more rewarding than helping others and Hospitality Homes has given me that opportunity,” she said at the time. “Hosting families traveling to Boston for medical care enriches my life in so many ways.”