Have a Heart for the Homeless

by Claudia Loucks correspondent
Barb Montgomery, along with her husband, Tom, founded the “Have a Heart for the Homeless” luncheon eight years ago to benefit the area homeless and marginalized individuals. The luncheon can’t happen this year but an online fundraiser is being held.

Barb and Tom Montgomery of Cambridge founded the “Have a Heart for the Homeless” luncheon eight years ago, and although the event can’t happen in person this year due to the current pandemic, the couple has found another way to help the homeless and marginalized individuals.

An online event is currently underway with raffle tickets for numerous prizes available at:https://secure.givelively.org/donate/humility-homes-and-services-inc/have-a-heart-baskets-prizes.

Prizes include overnight stays at Hotel Blackhawk, Riverside Casino, Isle Casino & Hotel, Panera Bread for one year, a hover board and more.

Donations for “Have a Heart” can be mailed to Christian Care, at 2209 3rd Ave., Rock Island IL 61201, with Have a Heart in the memo line. All funds received will be divided between Christian Care in Rock Island and Humility Homes and Services in Davenport.

Barb Montgomery, a retired educator, advocate and philanthropist for the QC Homeless and marginalized individuals, said she hopes that even though there can’t be a luncheon this year, “individuals can have fun and be entertained by a variety of ways to choose from to help brighten a Valentine’s Day for approximately 500 individuals who are homeless or marginalized.”

The online event will continue through Sunday, Feb. 14. Visit christiancareqc.org and scroll to Have Heart for the Homeless or visit https//www.facebook.com/christiancareshelter.

Montgomery, and her husband, Tom Montgomery, created the luncheon eight years ago, shortly after her retirement from teaching at United Township High School.

It was in her last year of teaching when she had a homeless student in her class…”I found out that she and her mother could not get into any shelter. They had to go stay in a shelter in Clinton, Iowa, and that disturbed me greatly.”

Much of that disturbance was the result of a difficult time in her own life, when Montgomery’s father returned home from serving in the military.

“I loved my father dearly,” she said. “He served 30 years in the United States Air Force, but there was no counseling after World War II. My father was older and he was 39 when I was born.”

She said her heart “went out to my student and I just had to do something, and I thought, ‘I’m retired, I can do what I want’.”…she launched the annual “Have a Heart for the Homeless” luncheon.

Montgomery said in the last years, attendance has grown at the luncheon, from about 42 in its first year to 261 in 2019. Last year the event raised over $15,000. All funds raised are split between the two shelters, Christian Care and Humility Homes and Services.”

“As the event gets larger, so does the need,” Montgomery said, adding that Humility Homes and Services, which was Humility of Mary until July of 2018, when the housing and shelter combined into one agency. “They house individuals of all ages daily, and now additionally for the winter have accepted King’s Harvest’s responsibility. The need is great. Over 500 homeless individuals in the Quad City area between two of 7 shelters are counting on your prayers and support.”

She shared a favorite quote – “To the world you may just be somebody, but to somebody you may just be the world.”

Montgomery was a 2018 Jefferson Award nominee through WQAD News 8. She is a member of St. John Vianney Catholic Church, Cambridge; PEO in Geneseo, Delta Kappa Gamma Society International and Elizabeth Jane Brashear King’s Daughters Circle.

Her husband Tom is a member of Cambridge Rotary and the Cambridge United Methodist Church.