‘Howe’ one family is helping Muscatine’s homeless residents

Stan and Helen Howe
Helen and Stan Howe — Iowa State University Foundation photo

A report released earlier this month was an attention grabber:

Americans gave an estimated $358.38 billion to charity in 2014, surpassing the peak last seen before the Great Recession, according to the 60th anniversary edition of Giving USA.

The 2014 total jumped 7.1 percent in current dollars and 5.4 percent when inflation-adjusted over the revised estimate of $339.94 billion that Americans donated in 2013, according to Giving USA 2015: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2014.

That’s good news when the primary duties at your day job are to share your passion — for the nonprofit organization where you work — with those who want to help others.

Muscatine Center for Social Action, where I am the deputy director, runs housing programs for the homeless in Muscatine, Iowa. It also oversees the community’s domestic violence shelter and offers many related services to help those who most need help in Muscatine County, an eastern Iowa County of about 43,000 people.

Linda Clark
Linda Clark

Through all of its programming, MCSA served more than 700 men, women and children in 2014. They were people much like Linda Clark, a resident for two months earlier this year in MCSA’s Family and Transitional Housing.

And MCSA would not be able to help Clark or anyone else without the help of the thousands of friends and supporters who help MCSA — the businesses, churches, other organizations and thousands of individuals who give of their time and donate needed supplies, food and money. To wit:

  • In the past, when we conducted a pillow campaign, we received hundreds of new pillows.
  • We receive enough free food to serve about 400 meals a month to any of our residents who are hungry.
  • And this year, we will work to seek about 40 percent of our operating revenue from the kindness of individual and corporate donors, churches and other groups.

Regarding that last point, MCSA has been greatly helped this year by the family foundation established by Stan Howe — a retired chief executive of Muscatine-based HNI Inc., which is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of office furniture — his wife, Helen, and their children.

Work is wrapping up on the third annual Adopt-A-Day at MCSA campaign. We’ve asked businesses, churches and other groups to “adopt” MCSA for a day in August or September by making a donation of up to $1,500. That is about what it costs each day to run MCSA’s homeless shelters.

The Howe family foundation has pledged $25,000 in matching funds for anyone who:

  • Makes a donation for the first time to the Adopt-A-Day campaign.
  • Increases the amount of their donation this year over what they gave last year. The foundation will match the amount of the increase.

The Howe family really wants to give the entire $25,000 to MCSA and we’re working hard to earn it. To do so, we still need to raise about $15,000. We are asking our many friends and supporters to please give what they can to help MCSA raise the money it needs to receive the matching funds.

To make a gift, please make checks payable to MCSA and send them to: MCSA, c/o Adopt-A-Day, 312 Iowa Ave., Muscatine IA 52761. You may also make a donation online.

For information, please send me an email at csteinbach@mcsaiowa.org or call me at 563-264-3278.

Thank you.


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