Anthony Stover was first introduced to the Germantown Monthly Meeting after his daughter was enrolled at the Germantown Friends School more than 20 years ago. He has been a member of GMM ever since. He is also a founding member of the Ujima Friends Peace Center, which was formed a few years ago.
Anthony has been working as the Community Relations Manager at the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House since 1999. His work profoundly speaks to his faith, and that faith is centered in spirituality.
He shared, “I don’t like to identify myself as a Quaker but a Friend. If I go up to someone who is a Hindu, a Catholic, a Jew or an Atheist and said I was a Quaker, radars would go up. But when I come to you and say, I’m a Friend. That’s a universal language of love, and we are the Society of Friends, so I identify myself as a Friend, as I don’t like labels. I think labels are for boxes, not for people.”
The Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House started 45 years ago. The House supports families of seriously ill children by creating a community of comfort and hope. The programs include two Ronald McDonald House residential sites, two Ronald McDonald Family Rooms at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, a Hospitality Kiosk at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, and a Ronald McDonald Camp.
Anthony’s passion for his work is reflected in the way he speaks about it, “I’ve got the best job in the world and not for monetary reasons. I work for a non-profit. However, when I’m having a bad day … (I think that) any of these families will take the bad day (in exchange for) for a healthy child. That (thought) keeps me centered and grounded. I’m the luckiest guy around. It is beautiful, and that’s the way I live my life.”
The two Ronald McDonald Houses together serve up to 127 families each night. They are built on the foundation of providing holistic support to families—including comfortable rooms, daily home-cooked meals, complimentary vans to the hospital, social worker assistance, and the support of other families who understand—so that families can stay together and stay focused on the health and well-being of their child and their family as a whole.
Anthony explained that Ronald McDonald Family Rooms extend the supportive presence of the Houses into the hospital itself, offering a quiet respite space for families with children receiving treatment on the Oncology and Cardiology floors at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
The newly-opened Hospitality Kiosk expands reach even further by providing many amenities to families with children on the critical care units of St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children. Finally, the one-week overnight Ronald McDonald Camp— located in the Poconos— provides the opportunity for children with cancer and their siblings to experience the joys of summer camp each August. Founded in 1974 as the first Ronald McDonald House in the world, they are the model for more than 338 Houses around the globe. To learn more, visit www.philarmh.org.
Anthony’s role at work and as one of the founders of the Ujima Friends Peace Center is deeply connected to his Faith. He notes that, “I like the simplicity of Quakerism and Friends. They are rooted in integrity, peace, community, and equality. Their values mean a lot to me; they touch (me) and they are like spiritual food. I don’t like dogma and I like being able to come as I am, and that’s what I found in Friends.”
We agree. A ‘Quaker’ sensibility impacts a person’s whole self: those values and lack of dogma mean that we live out our Faith in our daily work and volunteer initiatives just as readily as we bring it into weekly worship. In Ronald MacDonald House and the Ujima Friends Peace Center, we see Anthony’s deep belief in human possibilities as a member of our Religious Society of Friends and as the clerk of our Quaker Life Council and the Philadelphia Quarter.