Micro Volunteer Week: April 10-15 at HMHI

micro volunteer weekHMHI is celebrating Micro Volunteer Week April 10-15 by providing volunteer activities that supporters can accomplish at home in just minutes a day. These actions help raise public awareness of the important work HMHI accomplishes as it houses single-parent families experiencing homelessness.

Micro Volunteer Week Activities

Sunday, April 10    Sign Up Online HERE

Volunteer in your pj’s! Acquaint yourself with our website and Facebook page. Read our articles, add comments and share with your friends! Help us raise awareness of our work!  Pledge your support for the micro volunteer week by filling out the Micro Volunteer Form online CLICK HERE.

Monday, April 11

Facebook overlay
Facebook overlay
selfie
selfie with HMHI sign

 

Your selfie can make a difference!  Take a selfie with an ’I support HMHI’ sign and post it on your Facebook page. Or add the special HMHI overlay to your Facebook profile picture. It’s easy: just click here to add the overlay to your Facebook profile photo.

Tuesday, April 12

Birdies for Charity logoBirdies for Charity is coming soon! The John Deere Classic, ‘Birdies for Charity’ will pledge drive begins this month. Sign up online [CLICK HERE] to receive HMHI’s Birdies pledge card in the mail. Let’s make this Birdies event the best one yet! Through this fund-raising event, John Deere supports many local charities, including HMHI’s program to house local families experiencing homelessness.

Wednesday, April 13

Donate/Challenge Day!  $35 supports one family for one day in our program that assists families experiencing homelessness. Donate any amount and challenge your friends, family and co-workers to do the same. Contribute on our DONATE NOW PayPal link–it’s convenient and secure.

Thursday, April 14

Help Fill Pantry Shelves/Support HMHI!  Bring a 12 pack of toilet paper or a large jug of laundry soap to HMHI at 3805 Mississippi Ave., Davenport 52807 between 8 am and 3 pm. See our needs list for other items to contribute. Stay and spend 15 – 30 minutes helping us process donations. Can’t come in? Write a message to encourage a parent escaping homelessness, and mail it to our office.

Friday, April 15

The Spring Fresh Start Benefit Sale is Friday and Saturday April 29 & 30, from 8 am to 4 pm. Share the Fresh Start Benefit Sale event info widely. Download and print copies of the event flyer and post them at work, school, church…everywhere!

Want to become a regular HMHI volunteer? Call the office, 563-326-1330 and ask for Patti for details.

Learn more about micro volunteering in this short video:

HMHI Changed Anitra’s Life: Her Story

Anitra
Anitra turned her life around with HMHI’s help.

Hi, my name is Anitra. In 2001, my life changed drastically and I turned to Humility of Mary for help. I was a mother of three when my husband abandoned us. I cannot explain the confusion, turmoil and fear I felt. At that time I was going to school full time and working part time.  Without his income, eviction soon followed. Suddenly I was faced with homelessness. I contacted HMHI with no way of knowing if we could get help or not. Very soon, I got a call and my family was placed in a unit.

I wish I could describe the tears of joy and relief I felt knowing that my children would have a roof over their heads thanks to this program. At that moment, I had to make a decision; sink or swim–I decided to swim. I participated in this program to the fullest, and it was so helpful. I attended the required classes for each level I reached. I made all of my appointments with my Service Coordinator. I kept the property spotless and passed all inspections. In return, this program helped me set goals, taught me how to budget and how to pay bills on time.  If we needed clothing, housing supplies or food, they provided it and if I just needed someone to talk to, my Service Coordinator gave me a listening ear and advice.

Anitra’s career success

Because of this program, I was able to graduate from the LPN Program at a local college in May 2003. My family and I moved shortly after that to a 2 bedroom apartment. I studied and was able to pass the state nursing boards the very first time! I got hired at the first place I applied and work as an LPN there from 2003-2013. While there, I worked as a floor nurse, obtained immeasurable nursing skills. Promotions came; nurse management, Assistant Director of Nurses, Alzheimer’s Unit Coordinator, then Careplan/MDS Coordinator. When the facility closed I feared my life would take a downward spiral but by the Grace of God, we made it through. We kept our house, had food to eat, our health and each other.

I enrolled in the Associates Degree in Nursing program at a college in Ottumwa, IA and I graduated from the R.N. Program in August 2015. I am currently studying to take the Board exams. My children are all thriving! My oldest is 24 and works full time. My 19 year old son currently attends a local college. My 16 year old son and 13 year old daughter are both actively involved in local schools.

My advice to participants is:

  • We are humans who make poor decisions and mistakes but do not let that define who you are and who you are to your children.
  • What should define you is what and how YOU decide to overcome your obstacles.
  • Listen to your HMHI service coordinator! Remember they want to see you succeed in life. They are not working against you, trust me. These strict rules and regulations are in place to provide the structure you probably always needed in your life.
  • Pay attention in those classes because I’m sure there is at least one thing you will learn there.
  • Set realistic goals for success and remember small victories are victories none the less.
  • Remember you entered this program because you love your children and want to do what’s best for them, so just do it!

Thank you!

Fresh Start Spring Sale: April 29 & 30

spring fresh start sale
Don’t miss this spring event! Get ready for summer…frugally!

The Fresh Start Spring Sale at Gertrude’s Boutique in Humility of Mary Housing will be April 29 & 30, from 8am to 4pm each day. It’s not too late to bring in your donations of gently-used, working items.

Frugal shoppers in the Quad Cities area await these semi-annual sales for good reason. Their purchases assist families that are working hard to escape homelessness. And their purchases of gently-used merchandise–clothing, furniture and household goods–provide quality items for a fraction of the cost of the same items purchased new.

Fresh Start Spring 2016 flier
Fresh Start Spring 2016 flier (click for flier download)

Are you interested in volunteering to work at the sale? With 16 hours to serve the public, we can use your help. Call 563/326-1330 and ask for Patti. We’ll find a spot for you to do something to help that you’ll enjoy, and you can choose your hours, too.

The sale takes place in our headquarters on 3805 Mississippi Ave, Davenport [MAP]. There’s lots of space in an indoor, climate-controlled warehouse. You’ll be able to roam our wide aisles and bargain hunt comfortably, no matter what the spring weather brings.

You’re welcome and encouraged to download our Fresh Start Sale flier to distribute and/or to remind you of the sale. Click the photo (right) or this LINK.

We hope to see you at the Spring Fresh Start sale!

HMHI’s March shelving dreams: Make ’em come true!

shelving
With $200 in capitol, we’ll have first-class storage shelving for our new pantry area.

We have a dream at HMHI. It’s a simple one, but we need a bit more help to achieve it. To help us stay organized, we want to build two 8 foot rolling racks, complete with shelves and hanging rods for clothing storage. The racks we envision will be a bit modified, but a version of the one pictured in the photo at the top of this post. The goal is to have this project completed by the end of March.

Volunteers are standing by, ready to construct them. We need your help to purchase supplies needed for the project. Total cost of all materials is approximately $200.

Storage Racks, Ready to Roll!

We’ll use these rolling storage racks to help us distribute donations to our participating families efficiently and effectively. Not built for beauty, they’re going to be our workhorses!

If you can help us reach our March goal, please earmark your donation for our March shelving project. You can donate via the “Donate Now” link to make a secure online donation. Or, simply mail or drop off a check at our HMHI office:  3608 Mississippi Avenue, Davenport, IA 52806.

Let us know you’re helping us with our shelving needs. We’ll update this post when we’ve collected funding to purchase the supplies. Thank you for partnering with us to make the lives of struggling families easier and helping them achieve a brighter future.

Change will improve pantry services for HMHI participants

pantry servicesWe’ve observed a trend that prompts us to change our pantry services to HMHI’s families. State and federal governments are beginning to implement many of the same requirements to local food pantries as are used in the restaurant industry. There are increased requirements in reporting. We anticipate that soon even privately run pantries will be required to have restaurant grade refrigeration and storage. These changes are simply beyond our reach financially and outside our scope of housing work with our families.

So, we’ve decided to shift the focus of our pantry services from food. Going forward, we’ll focus our efforts on providing much-needed paper goods and cleaning supplies. These items are not available at local food pantries nor can they be purchased with food stamps.

Food help still available

pantry services
Cleaning supplies cannot be purchased with SNAP (food stamps).

For food assistance, our families will be able to access area food pantries that are run by Churches United. There’s one conveniently located near all of our properties. These pantries are much better stocked, providing our families with a better selection of goods on a regular basis.

Thanks for your past support of HMHI’s pantry. We hope that you’ll continue to support us by shifting the focus of your donations from food goods to household goods. You can download our 2016 needs list for your reference. If you have any questions, please let us know. Call Churches United offices (563.332.5002) to find the food pantry that serves your neighborhood to drop off food donations.

In order to succeed, every organization must grow and adapt with the changing times.  We are excited about this decision as we feel that our participant family support will be enhanced through these changes.  We hope that you agree and will continue your support with a renewed focus.

Scott County Housing Council gets $400K+ Iowa funds for local affordable housing

Iowa Finance Authority
Influx of state funding will boost local affordable housing in Scott and Muscatine Counties.

The Iowa Finance Authority Board of Directors recently approved more than $6.3 million in grants to 27 Local Housing Trust Funds to support local affordable housing initiatives. This will assist 2,469 Iowa families. The Scott County Housing Council (SCHC) received $409,961 of that funding. This money is designated specifically to assist organizations in our area.

Humility of Mary Housing, Inc. and Humility of Mary Shelter, Inc., each agency a participating member of the Scott County Housing Council, will benefit from this major grant. Muscatine and Scott Counties fall in the SCHC’s area of jurisdiction.

Scott County Housing Boost

“The partnership between the Iowa Finance Authority and Local Housing Trust Funds is one that pays dividends to affordable housing in Iowa,” said Iowa Finance Authority Executive Director Dave Jamison. “The grants announced today are leveraging an additional $2.7 million in local contributions, which is a testament to the shared commitment to meeting these vital housing needs.”

This money comes from The State Housing Trust Fund, a fund the Iowa Legislature created in 2003. Since its inception, the program has provided $50.1 million in affordable housing assistance. This funding has helped more than 17,600 Iowa families. Additionally, this funding has leveraged another $151.2 million in other funds or $2.68 for every dollar of State Housing Trust Fund investment.

Wrapping up Christmas at HMHI

by Patti Trapp, HMHI Volunteer Coordinator, HMHI Communications

wrapping up ChristmasAs 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.

Christmas Blessings!

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 visit HMHI office, children

Claus joy
A visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus crowns this child’s day with delight.

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!

on santa's lap
Wishes are best expressed on Santa’s lap. Those eyes tell us that she knows Santa heard her heart’s desire.

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.

stuffie
Happiness is hugging your plush stuffed animal and enjoying a chat with the Clauses.

The gleam in the children’s eyes tell the story. Enjoy the photos!

Dan Cromien and Ruth Webber
This dynamic duo make Christmas the day all children await. Santa’s friend is Dan Cromien and Mrs. Claus is Ruth Webber.

 

 

Bank of America awards grant to HMHI’s housing program

Bank of America grant
Heidi Parkhurst of Merrill Lynch (L) personally brought the Bank of America grant check to HMHI on December 2. Receiving the check in this photo are Emily Pries, Grants Manager, and Sandi Burrichter, Development Director.

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.

The (Good) Ghost of Christmas Past

by Patti Trapp, Humility of Mary Housing Volunteer Director

christmas past
There’s much to learn from Christmas of the past.

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.

Christmas farmhouse
a Christmas farmhouse. Photo credit: Scott Mather, Wikimedia Commons

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

firefighter
Volunteer firefighters give service to the community.

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!