Always a kind word

If you have ever donated aluminum pull tabs, pantry items, toys, baby blankets, any other type of in-kind supplies, you have almost certainly received a nice, hand-written thank you card from one of our volunteers. If you’ve made a gift of that nature in the past decade, there’s a pretty good chance the hand-written card mailed to your home would have been crafted by none other than Patti “PJ” Sundbeck!

Patti has been volunteering at the House as one of our card writers since 2010, but you could say her connection to Ronald McDonald House was made long before our House even existed. Patti has been friends with our now retired but long-serving former House staffers, executive director Jan Reid and volunteer coordinator Sally Strange… since her elementary school days! After returning to settle down back in Amarillo after a stint residing in beautiful Dripping Springs in the Texas Hill Country, Patti was ready to get involved in community volunteer activities, and one of those became RMHC, thanks to her friend connections!

“PJ” photographed at one of our annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinners

At the House, we rely heavily on cleaning supplies, snacks, water bottles, pantry items, toys, baby gifts, etc. being donated for us to best serve the families…they really make our world go ’round! Patti’s volunteer work is centered around making sure a heartfelt and genuine “Thank you!” card is written and mailed out to each and every individual or group that takes the time to thoughtfully donate any supplies to our House. If you notice a striking resemblance to our executive director, Shelley Cunningham, it’s because Patti just so happens to be her mom! In fact, Shelley first learned about the position at the House from her when it opened up 7 years ago.

Though she has made stops in other places like St. Louis and the Texas Hill Country, Patti is a native Amarilloan. One interesting fact about her is that she used to own an antique business. As one of our prime thank you-card writers, she is able to see just how generous our community really is, and during this time of social distancing has missed seeing firsthand how committed and engaged our staff and volunteers are! Her favorite memory at the House was getting to meet a thoughtful resident of the Ware Center retirement community who personally made over 500 caps to give to our NICU warriors as a going home gift. As for the reason she continues to volunteer after a decade?

” It makes me a better person because I am blessed to know the staff and other volunteers. They are so very generous with their time and knowledge.”

Enjoying quality “hang time” with her only great-grandchild, Flynn

Patti has enjoyed spending her time during the COVID quarantine days tackling neglected yard work, sorting through items in her closet to donate in the future, and catching up with people over Zoom virtual video meetings. She has been catching up on TV Land shows and movies on AMC and TCM during this season at home, as well. Once the pandemic passes, she most looks forward to being able to come out of isolation and reunite with her beloved family members!

We’ll be perfectly honest here. It is our proud opinion that the crispy chicken tenders at McDonald’s are one of the most underrated, unsung heroes of the menu. It excited us to learn that they happened to be Patti’s favorite choice to order at McDonald’s!

Thank YOU for thanking our donors for all of these years, Patti! We are grateful to have you on #TeamRMHC and are also thankful that you share Shelley with us each day!