Judy Black volunteering at the face painting station at our Back to School Fair.
All of us can be advocates for issues that we value. You just need passion for the cause and the willingness to try to inspire others through your actions. MCCH is so fortunate that longtime Montgomery County resident Judy Black has a passion for community service and is more than willing to inspire others to get involved.
Judy, a special educator in Montgomery County Public Schools’ Deaf and Hard of Hearing program, was looking for more ways to give back to her community after she became an empty nester. She was eventually introduced to a MCCH volunteer who told her about MCCH’s efforts in the Zero: 2016 campaign to end veteran homelessness. As a member of the Washington-Rockville Elks Club – an organization dedicated to helping children and veterans in their community – Judy recognized this perfect alignment of her interests and the needs of the community.
Judy worked with the Elks to secure money to provide a full move-in kit, including furniture, to one of our veteran clients. They soon learned that this client had a wife and three children, ranging from infant to teenager. This connection between Judy, the Elks, and this family was so strong, it continued after the move-in process.
Elks Lodge members decorating a Christmas tree after moving the veteran and his family into their new home in December.
“The teacher in me said ‘Oh my gosh, they need school supplies’. Winter came, and as a mother, I said ‘Oh my gosh, these kids need shoes’. Well the one son needed size 16 shoes – you can’t just get those anywhere. The baby needs diapers, they need a medicine kit. The needs just keep growing as you get involved.”
Beyond this amazing contribution, Judy continues to act as a liaison between MCCH and the Elks Lodge, writing grants and using those funds to buy school supplies for our recent Back to School Fair, additional move-in kits, and anything else our clients need. She serves on MCCH’s Development Committee, where her generosity and dedication to ending homelessness shines. She’s constantly looking for innovative ways to help our clients through her connections with the Elks.
“We as a community need to step up and every time we step up, we see that we need to step up further. I think our job as an Elks community is to reach out more and more and educate the community, educate our own members, and get them to slowly engage and keep spreading the word.”
Advocacy has many forms. It can be as boisterous as engaging others to collectively donate thousands of dollars, but it can also be as simple as sharing important Facebook posts when an organization is asking for help. Anyone can be an advocate for an issue they care about, but for Judy, it’s second nature.
“It’s people really walking the walk, making a difference, and that’s what we’re all supposed to do.”
Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless (MCCH) is a non-profit with the mission to provide solutions in Montgomery County to ensure that homelessness is rare, brief, and nonrecurring. Learn more about MCCH.