Everybody loves Patricia

Everybody loves Patricia | World Vision Blog

Patricia Heaton's sponsored child, Gracious, doesn't have electricity, so she's never seen Patricia on TV in shows like ABC's The Middle.

To Gracious, Patricia Heaton is a superstar because she's her sponsor!

Travel to Zambia today with Patricia as she meets Gracious and sees the impact of World Vision's work.


I have been a fan of Patricia Heaton since her days on the television show, Everybody Loves Raymond. She plays a character named Debra Barone, a non-Italian wife trying to fit into an Italian family. My husband Tom and I used to laugh at the show because it so brilliantly represents the fun and frustration of combining two different cultures in a marriage. Tom is an East Coast Italian. I am a West Coast Scandinavian. We sometimes have issues.

When Patricia’s television show The Middle began airing in 2009, it became my go-to television show when I’d come home, exhausted, from trips reporting on World Vision’s work around the world. I’d be wide awake at 2:00 a.m., suffering from jet lag and trying to make the transition from the hard places and tough situations I’d seen to being a wife and mom again. Sleepless, I’d make my way to the couch to catch up on episodes of the series, a sweet comedy about parents doing their best to raise children in a complicated world. I love the kindness, humor, and honesty of the show. It was a good welcome home.

Patricia Heaton loves acting, her husband and four boys, and she truly loves the poor. As a young struggling actress in Hollywood, she took time off from auditions and an intensive job search to take a mission trip with Hollywood Presbyterian Church to Mexico. On that trip, she felt a peace she’d never felt before. When she returned from that trip, she got down on her knees and asked God to send her to the mission field if that was his will. Instead, her career took off. But that desire for missions never left.

Everybody loves Patricia | World Vision Blog
Photo: ©2015 World Vision/photo by Eugene Lee


Last year, she decided to do something about it. She chose World Vision, she says, because of our low overhead and high impact. With her oldest son, Dan, Patricia traveled with World Vision to see our work in Zambia. She spent a morning with Lita Munkombwe, who received goats from the World Vision Gift Catalog. She saw how Lita’s life was transformed with the gift of five goats.


Both Dan and Patricia sponsor children in Zambia—a boy named Aden for Dan and a girl named Gracious for Patricia. Gracious is perfectly named. She invited Patricia to visit the small room she shares with her aunt and uncle. (Her mother receives medical treatment for a debilitating eye condition and cannot take care of her little girl.) Patricia showered Gracious with gifts, sitting together on Gracious’ metal “bed”—made from the wheel well of an old tractor.

Everybody loves Patricia | World Vision Blog
Photo: ©2015 World Vision/photo by Eugene Lee


Gracious did not know who Patricia was, as the family doesn’t have electricity or a television, but in her eyes Patricia is a superstar—just as all child sponsors are to the children they sponsor, write, and pray for. In my eyes, Patricia is now more than a funny, talented, television mom on Everybody Loves Raymond and The Middle. She’s a woman who is living out her faith and heeding God’s call to serve the poor in the name of Christ.

Now it’s more than her acting I admire—it’s what’s inside her heart.

Give the gift of goats to a family in need today!

Share in the big dreams of a child in need—start a relationship with a child like Gracious this Christmas!

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