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Dad and mom smiling in the hospital

More than a Meal — Giving through Dinner Elf

On September 13, 2016, while in Austin, TX on a business trip, Meredith’s life unexpectedly changed. Far from her Atlanta home, she went into labor at 24 weeks and 2 days. Her baby boy, Paul, arrived weighing just two pounds.

Her husband, Justin, quickly traveled to Austin, and it was then that they began thinking about how to handle the long road ahead, including where they were going to stay and what they were going to do for meals. The Sillimans were in a different city, nearly a thousand miles away from family and friends.

Fortunately, they were able to stay at the Ronald McDonald Family Room at Seton Medical Center Austin and the Ronald McDonald House while Paul was in the NICU. Both places became their “home-away-from-home” as their baby got stronger in the hospital. They had a place to sleep, eat and relax, while always staying close to him.

Faced with a lengthy stay in Austin, Meredith and Paul’s friends in Atlanta wanted to help in some way. A friend organized a Dinner Elf group gift “meal page” which allowed their friends and family to contribute 90+ dinners that were prepared and packaged for them while they spent long days at the hospital.

Dinner Elf is an in-home meal prep service that shops, plans, cooks and cleans up. The Dinner Elves took care of their meals so the Sillimans could focus on their baby.

Being able to stay at RMHC CTX along with having fully prepared Dinner Elf meals, alleviated enormous burdens for the Sillimans. They were facing so much with Paul’s medical care that having their basic needs taken care of — a place to stay and prepared meals– made this journey a little easier. And while Paul endured surgeries, setbacks, and triumphs, it was a comfort to know meals were provided for by Dinner Elf while they were surrounded with compassion and care.