About 225 diners ate simply Wednesday afternoon in Davenport so other Quad-Citians can simply eat.
Guests at the 26th annual In From the Cold Mayors Hunger Luncheon at the Golden Leaf Banquet & Convention Center, Davenport, had a simple lunch of bread and soup served by Quad-City mayors. Among the mayors were Stephanie Acri, Moline; Ray Allen, LeClaire; Matt Carter, Silvis; Duane Dawson, Milan; Reggie Freeman, East Moline; Frank Klipsch, Davenport; and Mike Thoms, Rock Island.
A mariachi band of students from Glenview Middle School, East Moline, performed while guests gathered.
Danielle Richardson, president of In From the Cold of the Quad-Cities Inc., said proceeds will go to Quad-City organizations that work with the homeless - member agencies of the QC Shelter & Transitional Housing organization.
In From the Cold is an organization of volunteers that addresses homelessness in the Quad-Cities.
The Rev. Dwight Ford gave an invocation: “We eat a simple meal so others can simply eat,” he said.
Speaker Jeff Breheny shared how the Quad-City non-profit organization One Eighty helped him when he was homeless and challenged by addiction.
“It saved my life,” Breheny said.
At first, he said he didn’t seek help. “I didn’t want anyone to know I was weak,” he said.
He added that the Humility of Mary “took me in from the cold.”
“A lot of people in this area don’t realize how much help is out there if you need it,” he said.
Kelle Larned, with the Salvation Army, explained the concept of rapid re-housing, which involves collaboration of multiple agencies.
The central hub will be at a building on the corner of Kirkwood Boulevard and Brady Street, Davenport. People who need help will come in and go through pre-screening and intake process, she said. That will help determine where they can go, perhaps staying with a friend, a family member or in temporary housing.
Among those attending were representatives from St. Joseph the Worker House in Rock Island, which serves homeless women and children throughout the Quad-Cities.
Executive director Angie Bloomfield said the major reasons for homelessness in the Quad-Cities are the lack of access to mental health care and affordable housing. At St. Joseph the Worker House, which has received In From the Cold funds, “The beds are full before they’re empty,” Bloomfield said. “Typically one family is leaving and another one is coming in.”
Jozett McCoy, with Riverside United Methodist Church, Moline, said many people come to the church seeking assistance with rent, utilities, transportation and medical needs. “They can’t get help when they’re going to be evicted or until their utilities are turned off,” said McCoy, who added that the situation means people can’t be proactive.