By Karen Bibee
Karen is a regular volunteer at the Fresh Start sales at Humility of Mary Housing. She composed this article and ,unsolicited, she sent it to us with this note: “Because of the seemingly hopelessness of recent tragic weather events, violence, hatred and lack of human understanding and compassion, I feel compelled to write…”
Humility of Mary Housing is an organization that provides homeless families the opportunity to secure safe housing and resources to improve their lives. One creative way the agency has found to raise funds to help families is through the biannual Fresh Start Benefit Sale; held in September and April.
All year donations from individuals and businesses are received at the HMH Donation Center located at 3805 Mississippi Ave., in Davenport. Items are sorted by volunteers and AARP workers into areas for housing needs for families in the program, needs for Humility of Mary Shelter for homeless individuals, a ‘boutique area’ for surplus items and special sale items.
When a family enters the program; furniture, clothing and household items are moved into an apartment. Fifty weeks of the year, the family, free of charge, may select other things from the ‘boutique area.’ During the other two weeks of the year, the sale area is prepared by an amazing, diverse team of volunteers and AARP workers. Special donations such as antiques, artwork and large furniture are added to the ‘boutique area’. Money received from the sales is used to purchased goods and services needed by HMHI families.
Most people familiar with HMHI know this information. What people may not know about the Fresh Start Benefit Sales are the people who buy and/or benefit from the Sale; the woman who buys the extra winter clothing and sends it to a Native American reservation in North Dakota. The shopper who buys fabric remnants to make quilts for newborns in local hospitals. The woman who purchases yarn to make comfort caps for a woman recovering from a mastectomy and radiation treatment. The young teacher’s aide who buys jeans for the classroom, so children aren’t embarrassed when an ‘accident’ occurs at school. The unemployed family who buys coats, mittens and shoes for their children for 50 cents and repeatedly thanks the cashier volunteer. The young couple starting out with little money who giggle as the buy reasonably priced furniture.
Being a part of the Sale allows me the opportunity to hear and see how HMHI’s mission to provide for homeless families trickles down goodness into the corners of many other lives. It allows me the opportunity to work, interact, laugh and yes even sweat with a wonderful team of volunteers, AARP workers and Patti the Volunteer Coordinator.
Put all together it gives me hope. I am proud to say that, “I am an HMH volunteer!”