For Brother-Sister Baking Duo, Time with Each Other Is Icing on the Cake
Everyone knows when brother-sister baking duo, Mike Smith and Pam Flowe, are in the Peachtree Dunwoody House. The scent wafting from the kitchen is unmistakable, and their baked goods have become legendary among families who’ve had the pleasure of tasting their monthly treats.
But the story behind the story is that the duo began their now-celebrated visits to the House so that they could ensure they saw each other regularly after both parents had passed away. While Mike had been a regular volunteer since 2009, he invited his sister to join him in 2016.
“She was just 15 miles away, but hey, this is Atlanta and it was hard to get together without putting something on the schedule,” he says.
Pam says their mission feels like something they do to honor their parents.
“Our mother was a great cook, and Dad, well, he was a great eater,” she says through a chuckle, adding that spending time with her brother while reaching out to people is “truly wonderful.”
For both Mike and Pam, the benefits these days extend far beyond the joy of seeing each other. Families’ stories of strength and endurance are now a part of their own shared experience at the House, making for memories that strengthen their bond.
“I feel like they let me come and be a part of this,” says Pam, adding that there hasn’t been one visit when she hasn’t been moved to tears.
“It’s small, but I feel like the thing I can offer is a shoulder and a listening ear. They can share things with me as a stranger without feeling they’re burdening me. It’s an honor to be able to help in that way,” she says.
Mike agrees with his sister that the families have offered more to them than the reverse.
“I’ve had no other volunteer opportunity like this one. Every visit I get to hear some of the behind-the-scenes stories from these families,” Mike said. “I continue to be amazed at their strength. Being a small part of the Atlanta Ronald McDonald House is so rewarding.”