HMHI Winners collect Thanksgiving pies

HMHI children's November winners
DJ and Liyah are pictured at Village Inn with their pies–prized trophies for winning the November HMHI essay contest.

What better prize can you win for a Thanksgiving essay contest than a pie compliments of Village Inn? That was the trophy take-home with which DJ and Liyah treated their families. DJ and Liyah were the winners in November’s essay contest. Their essay, entitled “Why My Family Loves to Celebrate Thanksgiving” took top honors among the  participating children from HMHI families.

HMHI thanks Village Inn, and manager Mani, for sponsoring this month’s contest prize. Everyone loves Village Inn pies, and they taste even better with you’ve earned them with your best writing!

Autumn contest fun for HMHI children

HMHI childrenOur HMHI children, who once knew housing insecurity, now eagerly participate in monthly contests where everyone wins. Mozella Stokes, our office receptionist, loves children and has a motherly knack for knowing what they will like. Due to her initiative and creativity,  the kids of our participating families can join seasonal activities that often get the entire family involved.

HMHI children & pumpkins
Samantha (left) and her brother Stephen, winner of 2nd prize, proudly brought the pumpkins for a display at HMHI’s office during Mozella’s fall contest.

Last week Mozella announced the winners of the fall pumpkin decorating contest. First place winner Alexis brought home a Happy Joe’s Famly Pizza Night for her family. Steven 2nd place winner (pictured), received a Marvel Hero Racing set. Mozella contacted Quad City HyVee stores to solicit pumpkin donations and requested Happy Joe’s for the first prize package sponsorship.

Every child who participated received a treat bag. All the children were able to bring the pumpkins back home to decorate their houses for Halloween. It was a winning event for all the families who took part.

Details of Mozella’s Thanksgiving contest, our final contest for 2012, are posted on the website Events Calendar page.

Successful fall sale capped by Quad City Times support

photo credit Quad City Times
Photo Credit: Quad City Times, Jeff Cook. Shoppers loved the bargains at last weekend’s Fall Fresh Start Sale. Proceeds benefited our HMHI programs.

The semi-annual fall sale last weekend cleared lots of merchandise from our warehouse, sending it to new homes in the Quad Cities. The rummage sale of items donated to Humility of Mary Housing will benefit the programs that empower single parent families that are in need of homes. This was the first fall Fresh Start Sale at our new agency headquarters, a building that we moved into just one year ago.

We’re always grateful to communicate our message to the wider community and let the Quad Cities know about the great work we’re doing to make our area a better, more productive place to live. So we were blessed to receive coverage in the Quad City Times in an article by Jennifer DeWitt.

Gertrude Vogel and Sue Purcell
Gertrude Vogel (left) and Sue Purcell sort donations to use and sell at the Fresh Start Sale.

DeWitt’s article focused on the origins of the Fresh Start Sale. What is now grown into a huge event had humble beginnings in the garage of Gertrude Vogel, long-time volunteer at HMHI. Gertrude is still a daily visitor at HMHI who maintains a lively interest and involvement in the sale.

The Times article went beyond the sale itself to explain to the public the mission that the Fresh Start Sale funds: transitional and permanent housing for single parent families. For just $35 dollars a day, we are able to support and launch a formerly homeless family, empowering them to achieve housing independence. That’s money well spent.

The Fresh Start Sale crew will now set its sights on preparations for the Spring Sale 2013.

Leadership supporting families in crisis

HMHI leaders cut ribbon on new officesFamilies participating in HMHI programs access professional assistance from an organization that has won respect state-wide. Humility of Mary Housing, Inc. leaders have carefully grown the agency from its initial four units to its current 49 housing units.

HMHI offers a compassionate and informed approach to families that bear the trauma and stress that accompanies homelessness. The agency is a leader with a pioneering programming model as well as by its principle of holding participants to a standard that will support success.

Humility of Mary Housing, Inc. recognizes the important work family shelters accomplish. It partners closely with the programs that provide such shelter in the Quad Cities. At the same time, for the last twenty-two years HMHI has pioneered a different sort of program to assist single-parent families who lack stable housing.

Treating each family individually, HMHI recognizes that each family has unique needs and assets.

Alternatives to shelter living can and do work.

Humility of Mary Housing, Inc. is leading an alternative model to the traditional shelter approach. That model creates positive results…every day.

To learn more about how leaders have carefully fostered the HMHI agency so that many families can receive assistance, read this post.

Good times rolled at HMHI’s New Orleans Jazz Brunch

Sarah Marie Young Ensemble
Sarah Marie Young and ensemble headlined HMHI’s 2012 New Orleans Jazz Brunch.

With sun streaming down on the Crow Valley Golf Club, HMHI’s Jazz Brunch on Sunday shone with great food, outstanding music and a room full of generous supporters.

The lovely fresh flowers provided by Hy-Vee (Utica Ridge & 53rd) matched the beauty of the surroundings, all decorated in the traditional gold, green and purple of New Orlean’s Mardi Gras.  The smooth melodies of award-winning Chicago jazz vocalist Sarah Marie Young, featured entertainer, were supported by an equally talented ensemble on bass and piano.

Mimosa flowed freely, and brunch did not disappoint. Capturing the flavors of New Orleans, the entrees were supported by fresh Midwestern seasonal vegetables. And the dessert bar enticed many attendees into two or more sweet meal finales.

But  the highlight for many supporters in the large dining room was the testimony from one of the first HMHI participants, Trisha. She recounted her life journey beginning with her tenuous situation as a sixteen-year-old single mother and high

jazz brunch 2012
Supporters filled the room at HMHI’s New Orleans Jazz Brunch 2012, held at the Crow Valley Golf Club.

school dropout. Trisha credited the support she received during her participation in the HMHI program with turning her life around. Today her resume includes a master’s degree in accounting and a long-standing, successful career with the U.S. Government. Trisha’s story of accomplishment drew both some empathic tears and also a standing ovation from the group.

The opportunity to attend a lunch for ten with Sam Allen, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Deere and Company in the Executive Dining Room at Deere and Company World Headquarters or a similar lunch for six with Joan Lescinski, CSJ, PhD., President of St. Ambrose University at the Rogalski Center were live-auctioned. Proceeds of the auction and the jazz brunch event will support HMHI’s programming.

Enjoy this photo gallery from the 2012 New Orleans Jazz Brunch. Click any thumbnail to enlarge for full appreciation:

Davenport citizens: Survey input can help the homeless (by September 24)

Davenport Iowa map
Moderate to low income areas of Davenport are indicated in orange on the map.

A short online survey by the City of Davenport gives citizens the chance to help send federal funds to housing rehabilitation and economic development. The eight question survey will accept input until September 24.

The City of Davenport may focus Community Development Block Grant funds for housing rehabilitation and economic development in specific areas of the City based on the income of residents. This would provide important assistance to our HMHI program and participants. Your support of the proposal will help make it happen.

Community Development Block Grant funds are federal dollars that must be used for low to moderate income people. A portion of these funds can be used to support non-profits. This portion has decreased significantly (approximately $100,000) over the past two years. So the city must determine its priorities.

Fifteen different non-profits programs could benefit from $260,000 in CDBG money. Each of these programs addresses a different community need and therefore supports a different population.

The survey questions will help city officials determine a high, medium, and low priority to support these population groups in the future:

  • Homeless/Shelter
  • People with AIDS
  • People in need of transportation
  • People in need of affordable housing,
  • Physically and mentally handicapped,
  • Seniors,
  • Survivors of domestic violence/sexual abuse, and
  • Youth.

We hope you will consider the needs of families without homes as you offer your input.

Click through here or copy and paste this link in to your browser to access the survey:

Leading by example, HMHI’s Debra Morgan achieves her dream

Debra Morgan and quilt
Quilter Debra Morgan realized her dream when President Obama signed the quilt project she created (seen behind her): “Journey Quilt.”

Goals are achieved through hard work and determination, and HMHI’s Debra Morgan can speak to her participants with authority on that subject. Her quilting creation, entitled “Journey Quilt,” now bears the signature of a sitting U.S. president.

The project’s panels depict the struggles and successes of African-Americans through U.S. history, from slavery through civil rights to national leadership.

Completing the quilt was accomplishment enough. But Debra’s dream was even bigger:

 “Ever since I created the quilt, my goal was to have President Obama sign it.”

Obama’s recent visit to Davenport gave Debra the opportunity to make her dream come true. The Argus-Dispatch article by Dawn Neuses tells the story of how Debra was able to secure that signature.

Her next goal is to use the quilt as a way to inspire. She told the Argus that the quilt relates a story about all people coming together to create a new world. It is message for all, especially children, she said.

For several years Debra has served as a site manager for HMHI families affected by mental illness and/or brain injury. Her presence provides on-site support for those HMHI parents and children. We know that her message and her presence will continue to inspire our participants. Now, thanks to the cooperation of President Obama and to her generously sharing the story of her own dream-come-true, she has also inspired the greater community of the Quad Cities.

For more photos of Debra and the quilt, see the impressive gallery by photographer Paul Colletti of the Argus.

Join HMHI for jazz brunch: Good food, good music, great cause!

jazz brunch
New Orleans Jazz Brunch — a great event for a great cause

We’re celebrating 22 years of service to the Quad Cities with a New Orleans style Jazz Brunch at Crow Valley Golf Club [map] on Sunday, September 23 from 11am to 2pm.  Popular Chicago vocalist Sarah Marie Young will again star as our featured entertainer, supported by a pianist and a string bass player.  Having earned first place standing in the international Montreux Jazz Voice Competition in Switzerland last year, Sarah Marie shines as a performer of international prominence, performing for us in an intimate setting.

The Jazz Brunch features the magnificent New Orleans Jazz Brunch buffet which includes desserts and a glass of champagne or mimosa. Tickets for the buffet and entertainment in a lovely setting are $60 per person.  A cash bar is available.  Reserve your place by sending reservation checks or credit card information to our office [attention: Sister Mary Ann Vogel]. You may also pick up invitations at our Davenport office on 3805 Mississippi or simply call 563/326-1330 for information.

Our Jazz Brunch is a recurring event, but this year we’re adding an auction to the line-up. One item on the block is the opportunity for you and your friends to have lunch with either Sam Allen, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Deere and Company, or Joan Lescinski, CSJ, PhD., President of St. Ambrose University.

With the help our our contributors, we have proudly provided supportive housing for 711 single parents and their 1391 children during these past 22 years.  These families were homeless at the time they entered the program.  By providing single parents with the tools and support they need to complete degrees, find jobs, and move into their own homes, we’ve helped many families move into housing independence.  Children learn there is a different way to live; some have become the first in their family to complete high school and continue into college.

We receive over 400 applications from single parent families, including nearly 600 children, each year. However, HMHI has space and staff to provide services to only 47 of these families at any one time.

Please join us in our celebration and support this valuable community asset. Good food and good music supports a great cause. With your help, the good work will continue!

HMHI supporter promotes organic heirloom gardening to our participants

Theresa Molden
Theresa Molden shared 50 tomato seedlings with HMHI this spring.

Theresa Molden got inspired this spring. She planted dozens of organic heirloom tomato seeds and carefully raised them to seedlings. Theresa, who has previously volunteered at Humility of Mary Housing through her employer, McGladrey LLP, then generously gave fifty of her seedlings to HMHI so that our families can raise their own vegetables. Now, tomato plants are growing in pots and gardens at many of our properties, and parents and children in our program can look forward to tasty tomatoes later this summer!

We’re continually amazed by the creative ways our supporters help  our participants and us.

We’re grateful to Theresa, and to you, our blog readers, for your ongoing interest in and support of our work.

New Davenport store pledges assistance to HMHI

A new store in town provides upscale resale shopping…and promotes HMHI, too! Junk in My Trunk, which opened this month, sells vintage items, new items, arts and crafts, and much more at 3127 Brady Street in Davenport. The new owner, Jenni Corson, is just setting up shop, but–even in the midst of all the opening week details–she’s remembering those less fortunate, too. She’s designated each Monday as “Mary’s Mondays” and pledged to donate 20% of her profits to HMHI each Monday.

Junk In My Trunk logo
A new Davenport store is promoting Humility of Mary Housing.

According to their new Facebook page, you can expect to find “the best bargains on Brady Street in Davenport, IA!” at Junk in My Trunk.  Furniture, home decor, sports memorabilia, children’s items, and dishes all co-mingle attractively–along with other great merchandise. Everything is clean and very attractively arranged, making shopping enjoyable…and priced right to be affordable.

Help Junk in My Trunk get a rousing welcome to the Quad Cities by visiting their store, by liking them on Facebook, and by participating in “Mary’s Mondays.” In so doing, your retail experience will benefit not only you, but also the single-parent families of HMHI who are working hard everyday to regain housing independence for themselves.

We’re grateful for the boost we’re going to receive from Junk in My Trunk and from its Monday patrons. We hope you’ll be one of them. They’re open Monday through Saturday, from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm. [But especially remember to shop on Mondays!]

Convenient parking is available in their lot and on the street. For more information, call 563-676-7058 and/or 563-639-8885.