by Patti Trapp, HMHI Volunteer Coordinator, HMHI Communications
As we draw to near to Christmas, we’re working feverishly to complete work on vacant apartments, delivering Christmas trees to families and collecting last minute gifts from family wish lists. We’re wrapping up Christmas preparations.
While checking each list twice, I realized that some wishes on angel trees were missed or not taken, which resulted in making a couple of phone calls to supporters who had volunteered to do last minute shopping–even on Christmas Eve.
Yesterday I e-mailed a three item list to a supporter who happened to email the day before asking if we needed any last minute shopping. I got an e-mail back stating that she was on a conference call and would call me soon, but in the meantime she had already ordered an item online and delivery is expected tomorrow! She already had plans to get the other two items over the weekend. All items will be here on before Christmas.
We’re so blessed to have such awesome people willing to jump in and help when asked!
We hope that all of our supporters have a wonderful holiday, that all of your lists have already been checked twice. If asked, we will be sure to tell Santa that on our list there are no ‘naughties’, only nice!
Santa and Mrs. Claus brought joy to the HMHI office on Friday, December 11 when they arrived for a visit with the HMHI children. During the Claus visit, Santa and Mrs. Claus’s friends, Dan Cromien and Ruth Webber, listened carefully to the Christmas wishes that our kids brought with them when they came to see the famous couple. Beyond simply visiting, the two also donated the Mrs. Claus costume, Santa’s boots and candy canes for all!
Thanks to HMHI supporters Gail Nimrick, Sara Olson-Smith, Keri Graham, Cristina Braddy, Beth Johnson and Emily Pries there were home-made cookies and juice for the all. We’re grateful to them and to all the other HMHI staff who helped to make this magical event possible for our participants and their children.
The gleam in the children’s eyes tell the story. Enjoy the photos!
Bank of America awarded Humility of Mary Housing a grant of $10,000 which will fund program support. This grant to HMHI represents Bank of America’s efforts to address issues of social responsibility. Their support in the areas of affordable housing and neighborhood revitalization are vital to helping people build better financial lives. On December 2, Heidi Parkhurst of Merrill Lynch visited the HMHI office to present the check personally.
Bank of America’s partnership with us at HMHI helps them meet the needs of low-income communities while preserving neighborhoods. Their grant to us is only one facet of their mission of corporate social responsibility. Learn more about their efforts and programs on their website.
Community support allows HMHI to continue its important work of housing single parent families who are experiencing homelessness. Having benefited from previous Bank of America backing, we appreciate Bank of America’s ongoing commitment to our programming. Their financial assistance stretches our donors’ funding contributions and allows us to continue our mission and strengthen our community.
by Patti Trapp, Humility of Mary Housing Volunteer Director
One Christmas stands out in my mind as eventful, humorous and still life-altering. I’d like to share it, because I live its lesson every day at Humility of Mary Housing as the volunteer director.
Over fifty years ago, the world was a different place. I was much younger, impressionable and my eyes of innocence and wonder still see the memory of that eventful Christmas.
We spent Christmas at my Grandmother’s farmhouse, north of Peoria. Barren cornfields, swept clean by chill winter winds, surrounded her house. The rambling farmhouse had two stories, and there were so many of us that the only room large enough for us all to sit down together for dinner was the basement.
Typically, the women were in the kitchen: cooking and gossiping. The men gathered around the television, swapping stories. The 30+ grandchildren were running and playing. My great, great grandmother and my great grandmother sat quietly in their chairs in the living room taking in the antics of the children while two of my aunts, both hard of hearing, sat near the men, one hand cupped around their good ear to hear, each with a can of Budweiser at the ready.
Mischief was in the air. The older boys pulled my cousin Ted aside and convinced him to climb into the laundry shoot. Ted was younger than I, a fireball of energy: thin, glasses secured to his head with a rubber band that ran around the back, and both ears sporting hearing aids. Poor Ted, he was born a geek before geek was a word. But Ted was always game for any challenge. That was pure Ted.
Into the laundry shoot Ted dove, and he started sliding down from the second floor. The other boys ran down the stairs, snaked their way through the kitchen of cooks and then raced down the stairs to the basement. They waited by a pile of pillows and blankets that were strategically located below the hole in the ceiling in front of the washer.
Ted never appeared.
The boys ran back upstairs to see if Ted had come back out the laundry shoot, but there was no Ted. Meanwhile, Grandma–her head over the turkey to bast it–thought she heard someone crying. There were no shouts: no child came running in tears, so she assumed it was the wind whistling in the eaves. I think the boys made the trip from upstairs to basement and back again twice before they concluded that their idea was flawed.
Ted was stuck inside the wall. The fathers had to be told. Though I don’t remember, Jack was probably sent as the bearer of bad news, since he was the oldest. Pandemonium broke out as an intense search ensued. Someone soon discovered that Ted was behind the kitchen wall… somewhere, roughly, behind the oven.
My uncle was a volunteer fireman and deemed this a simple rescue. Ted was able to tell them he was fine. All of my uncles and my father had built their own homes, they had the tools and the knowledge necessary to execute a rescue. The food, in various stages of prep, was moved into the dining room and covered. The turkey was removed and the oven shut off. Uncle Bud went for his tools while kitchen cabinets were emptied. Part of the kitchen was dismantled, the oven was pulled from the wall and the laundry shoot was exposed. Soon Ted rejoined the family and regaled us all with tales of his adventure.
My family as a whole seemed blessed with a spirit of serving. The two aunts with the cans of Budweiser were among them. One worked as a teacher at a school for the deaf and the other was the first female to hold a political office it the State of Illinois.
Volunteering: A Christmas Lesson
I don’t remember much else about that day. We celebrated Christmas, opened presents and enjoyed dinner. But, that day was a pivotal point for many of us grandkids. We were involved in a real life rescue. Almost all of those older boys have gone on to join the fire department as volunteers; one serves as Fire Chief. The girls became volunteers as well, including serving on a suicide prevention hotline. And I work as the volunteer coordinator at Humility of Mary Housing. I know how critical it is to get people to help and how lives can be changed and influenced by those who serve. And Ted? Ted went on to help build an IT business with his brother; he is now semi-retired and doing philanthropic work.
Volunteering takes so little from us and rewards us greatly in many ways we can’t begin to count or see. I hope this Christmas story has brought a smile and revived humorous memories of your own. As we wind down 2015 and look towards 2016, I hope you will place volunteerism on your must-do list for 2016. We need all the hands we can get! Call me to set up a time to discuss, 563-326-1330. Happy Holidays!
We at HMHI have an immediate need for volunteers to help prepare apartments for ten families to move in before Christmas. Dates of need are fluid; flexibility will be a key.
Volunteers will be deep cleaning; kitchens, bathrooms and other living areas. It’s all interior work. All work will be done Monday through Friday between the hours of 8 am and 4 pm. No evenings or Saturdays involved. We will provide cleaning materials and supplies for you and/or your group. We will accommodate your availability.
Together we can get ten families out of the cold and into their own home for Christmas. What better gift can any of us give than this?! Please call Patti for further details and to sign up, 563-326-1330.
For over 20 years, the Quad Cities Dining Tour coupon book gives local residents a great frugal opportunity to enjoy restaurants at a great savings. Filled with coupons for fine dining, theater, casual dining, pizza and fast foods, this value-filled opportunity book is yours for $35 at our office at 3805 Mississippi Avenue in Davenport. It pays for itself in savings–you save money with every coupon you use! And your purchase helps our families who are suffering homelessness.
The Quad Cities Dining Tour Book contains over 350 buy “one- get one” coupons to 135 local restaurants. Its reputation speaks for itself. If you enjoy eating out, this is a deal you can’t miss. It’s perfect for people who enjoy trying new restaurants, too. And, you have the added benefit of knowing that by purchasing the coupon book you’re helping families who are in need.
With its leatherette cover and gold foil stamping, the coupon book makes a great gift for your area friends and family members. Give them a gift they can enjoy over and over, all year long. All coupons are valid until October 31, 2016.
Stop in at our offices to purchase as many Quad Cities Dining Tour Books as you’d like during our business hours, Monday through Friday from 8 AM until 4 PM.
Gertrude’s Boutique at Humility of Mary Housing will hold a pre-holiday FLASH mini-sale on Thursday, November 12. This sale will last only between 9 AM and 1 PM. It’s a special clearance sale. All our merchandise is available for sale at bargain prices.
There’s an abundance of winter clothing for men, women and children. You’ll find lots household items.
This is a perfect time to replenish your Christmas decor. And, there’s lots of specialty items just in time to use this holiday season. Make your Christmas extra special for family and guests. They’ll never know you did it so frugally!
All clothing is sorted, sized and neatly hung. That makes shopping a breeze. Gertrudes Boutique provides “garage sale” pricing in a comfortable, climate controlled environment.
There are classic and collectible items–you’re likely to find gifts for family and friends. But, you’re sure to find items you can use and enjoy yourself.
If the Great Pumpkin came to visit Linus in the pumpkin patch, what would he look like?
With this imagination-stretching question, the HMHI participating children are challenged to engage in creative thinking during October. Each month there’s a new activity or project in store for them, all designed by HMHI employee Mozella Stokes. Mozella is a favorite of all our participating children, because she never fails to stop whatever she’s doing as HMHI’s receptionist and office manager to greet each with a warm embrace when they visit the office with their parent.
To add extra excitement to the activities, Mozella searches out sponsors for the monthly projects. Sometimes that sponsor will provide materials for the children’s projects. Sometimes they’ll offer a demonstration the kids can attend and learn from. Sometimes they’ll provide an incentive, reward or award to one of the kids enrolled in the activity. For instance, this month Target provided a gift card that will be given to one of the students who contributes a Great Pumpkin image to the display in HMHI’s reception room.
Adding extra fun this month, Mozella offered a Family Activity in the spirit of Halloween. Each family has the opportunity to create a family themed Halloween costume photo. They can choose one of the suggested themes: the 70’s, sports, disco, super heroes, or TV family. Using our clothing closet contributions, they design costumes in that theme and take a family photo. One lucky family will win a family night out at Happy Joe’s, courtesy of Happy Joe’s.
The HMHI children are special to us. As we assist their parents directly, we realize that we’re also providing a stable environment so that the children can continue their important work at school uninterrupted. Babies, toddlers and preschool children need reliable surroundings so that they can continue their growth and development and explore their world safely.
Feel that nip in the air?! It’s not too soon to plan for Christmas, an annual time of giving. Take advantage of this very appropriate season to assist a single-parent family that’s battling to escape homelessness. Humility of Mary Housing is pleased to connect you with one of our 47 families in need. Through our Christmas giving program, you can provide gifts for an entire single-parent family in recovery from homelessness or for an individual in our program and brighten their holiday season.
The Christmas Giving Program
Our Christmas Giving Program receives needs and wishes from the children and the parents we assist at HMHI. You simply contact us by phone at 563/326-1330 and let us know how you’d like to help. If you decide to sponsor a family, we’ll share with you the ages, genders and wishes of one of our families. You may participate as an individual or in conjunction with:
your business team,
your community or church group.
There’s another option. You may prefer to choose an idea from the “Gift that Keeps Giving” list [pdf download here]. Ideas include bus tokens, donate your old car to a family without a vehicle, gift card to a pharmacy for medicine, laundry soap and diapers; donate to cover education expenses for a parent trying to better themselves, gift card for haircuts to look good for an interview.
You may even volunteer to help prepare donations for families to use. There are so many ways you can help!
How to Help
Contact us if you’d like to choose gifts to make our participants’ wishes come true. We’ll send you the information. You can select and purchase the gifts you’d like to contribute to bring holiday happiness to a family in need of a permanent home.
Then, drop off the new, unwrapped gifts (or gift cards) at our office no later than December 11.
Please think about supporting these transitioning families this holiday. They have little and can use your goodness and assistance. For more information–or to volunteer to participate–phone us at 563/326-1330, ext. 105. With community support, these families can begin to dream of a better life again.
We’re looking for people just like you! Humility of Mary Housing needs volunteers to help in Gertrude’s Fresh Start Boutique/Donation Center. People of all ages and abilities can contribute here. When they do, they support a project that directly assists single parents and their families who are escaping from homelessness.
We provide a furnished apartment and free access to clothing and home necessities for all our program families. People from across the Quad Cities Area contribute items that help this cause. It’s crucial that these donations are checked in, sorted, and tested so that they can be made available to participant families. We arrange them attractively, so that our families can enjoy the experience of selecting the things they need.
We’re happy to talk to your church or civic group about this opportunity. Contact our volunteer coordinator, Patti, to arrange for her to visit with you or speak to your group.
This volunteer opportunity is love in action; you know you are making a difference in someone’s life! Call for details, 563-326-1330 x 105.