Emmy Award-winning actress Patricia Heaton (Everybody Loves Raymond, The Middle) will be the featured speaker at Buckner International’s Hope for Children benefit on May 7. Even though she is in the midst of filming a new TV series, Carol’s Second Act, and promoting a new book, Heaton took some time out of her busy schedule to answer some questions pertaining to her thoughts on family and service.
Q: What are the biggest differences between being a TV mom and a real mother?
A: I think the reason Raymond and The Middle were so successful is that they both captured marriage and motherhood so realistically. When I came in to work each morning, the struggles I was having at home we’re there on the page. Of course, the difference between my real life and my TV life is that when I’m at work, people applaud me, cook whatever I want and drive me around. When I’m at home, no applause, I cook for them and drive them everywhere.
Q: Is there an aspect of motherhood you would really like to see one of your TV or film characters tackle?
A: I think television is doing a good job of representing the issues parents are facing today. The Middle was particularly good at tackling things like kids getting jobs, applying for college and romance.
Q: Throughout your career, you’ve worked with numerous charities. What have been the biggest advantages of your celebrity status in your ability to help others?
A: Most recently, I have been working with World Vision. Prior to my coming on board as their celebrity ambassador, no one in my Hollywood community had ever heard of the organization even though it’s the biggest NGO in the world and the largest provider of clean water. With the opportunities I have to go on both daytime and night-time talk shows, we’ve seen traffic to the World Vision website increase along with child sponsorship. I think World Vision has seen the kind of reach that can be achieved when you use the resources of the entertainment industry and social media. It’s been very satisfying to introduce so many more people to this organization.
Q: Many people want to help make a difference in the world like you, but they don’t know where to start. Do you have any advice about how an average person can do good too?
A: In order to sustain a commitment to an organization, it helps if you can be hands-on and see results in real time. So, I recommend that if someone is looking to share their gifts with a charitable organization, start in your own community. Things like being a Big Brother, Big Sister, helping the elderly, or participating in environmental activities like cleaning up beaches and parks, can really make a difference, and there’s no shortage of organizations that could use great volunteers. It’s also a great way to meet people and feel really connected to the place you live.
Q: Who in your life has influenced you the most when it comes to your dedication to working with charities and why?
A: Even though money was a bit tight in our family and my dad was quite worried about it, I have the distinct memory of him sitting at the dining room table and paying the bills once a month. And each time he did that, he would write a few checks to charity even though it worried him and he was paying for five kids in Catholic school. That has always stuck with me.
Join Buckner International on May 7 in Dallas for Hope for Children and an evening with Patricia Heaton. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit Buckner.org/HopeForChildren.
All proceeds from the event will benefit Buckner’s work protecting vulnerable children and strengthening families across North Texas.