Adopt a family experiencing homelessness for Christmas

homeless Christmas giving

Enrich your holiday season this year. Sign up is underway to adopt a family experiencing homelessness that we serve at Humility of Mary Housing. Your gifts will make their Christmas very special!

The spirit of an old fashioned Christmas governs our giving program:

“Something that you want,
Something that you need,
Something that you’ll wear,
Something that you’ll read.”

If you’d like to help but don’t have the time to shop for others, we have these suggestions:

** Supply gift cards for food,gas,and  general  shopping for family emergency needs.
** Provide gift cards for family outings, like the Children’s Museum, movies, ballgame, etc.
** Sponsors may also choose to cover the cost of supporting a family for a day, week or month.
** Ask us for an extended ideas list!

Adopt a Family

Sign up for the family size you wish. We will try to honor your requests for ages and genders of children, if we can.

New, unwrapped gifts and gift cards may be dropped off at our office. We will package, distribute and deliver your gifts to our families.

All gifts need to arrive at our office by December 12, 2016 so we have time to process and handle the distribution.

If you’re interested in helping Santa make Christmas wishes come true, give us a call. We will work with you, your family, your civic or church group or your office and business. Let’s talk! Phone 563-326-1330 and speak to Patti at Ext. 105.

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! ​

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!

This Christmas, Adopt a Family That’s Battling Homelessness

Christmas presents
You can brighten the holidays for a family experiencing homelessness!

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 assisHMHI family at Christmast 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 family,
  • 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.

adopt family Christmas

How to Adopt an HMHI Family for Christmas

HMHI family at Christmas

Christmas, a time of giving, is a great time to assist a family experiencing homelessness, and HMHI is pleased to connect you with a family in need. You can provide gifts for a single-parent family or for an individual in our program.

An “Old Fashioned Christmas”

Our theme is “Old Fashioned Christmas,” from the Victorian suggestion that appropriate gifts consist of:

  • Something that you want,
  • Something that you need,
  • Something that you’ll wear,
  • Something that you’ll read.

Each of our participants select four wishes in keeping with this list.

How You Can Help

Contact us if you’d like to choose gifts to make our participants’ wishes come true.

Then drop off the new, unwrapped gifts (or gift cards) at our office no later than December 15. For more information, phone us at 563/326-1330, ext. 105.

adopt family Christmas

Thank you for making this holiday season special for HMHI families!

Insert a Christmas tree to uplift a child

christmas treeOur families who have recently experienced homelessness find our apartments a welcome relief and the hope of a brighter future. But when holidays come, their housing insecurity has left them disadvantaged. They didn’t store a Christmas tree from last year in their attic or garage because, more than likely, there was no tree nor was there an attic or garage.

Can you provide a holiday tree to uplift the spirits of a family in need? Your gift of a new or gently-used tree will change the holidays for one of our participating families. Because our families are apartment-dwellers, the optimum tree size would be between 4′-6′ tall. Used artificial trees should come with all the necessary parts for assembly.

Our program manages nearly 50 apartments, so we can use dozens of trees for holiday decorating. Thanks for whatever you can to to brighten the holidays for a local family in need! By inserting a tree into a family’s living quarters, you can warm a home in this chilly time of year.