Fresh Start treasures include White House cookbook


By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger

DAVENPORT — All kinds of treasurers can be found at the annual fall Fresh Start Benefit sale later this month at the Fresh Start Center, including a 121-year-old reprint of a White House cookbook!

Anne Marie Amacher
Patti Trapp, volunteer coordinator and donation center manager at Humility Homes & Services, Inc., in Davenport, holds a White House cookbook from the 1800s.

Proceeds from the Sept. 27-28 sale help fund Humility Homes & Services (HHS) programs that include outreach, emergency shelter, transitional housing, veterans’ transitional housing and supportive housing. Also, rapid re-housing, rent-it-forward, Section 8 Plus, and single-room occupancy units, among other services, said Patti Trapp, volunteer coordinator and donation center manager with HHS.

The Fresh Start Center, located at 3805 Mississippi Ave., is open year-round to HHS participants who are starting their lives over, creating new homes and building their futures. Clients shop in the warehouse for items they need but do not pay for them, Trapp said. “We make it look more like a store so there is dignity and they can see departments.” Twice a year the doors are opened to the public to buy items.


An 1898 reprint of the original 1887 White House Cookbook was among the items dropped off recently. Trapp said paging through the cookbook was very interesting. A chapter on coffee, tea and beverages explains the importance of boiling water for making good coffee or tea. The chapter also states, “Water left in the tea-kettle over night must never be used for preparing the breakfast coffee; no matter how excellent our coffee or tea may be, it will be ruined by the additional water that has been boiled more than once.”

That chapter also discusses “the healing properties of tea and coffee.” The paragraph notes that tea and coffee are good for people with inflammatory diseases and the two beverages can cure headaches. “Both tea and coffee powerfully counteract the effects of opium and intoxicating liquor….”

Diagrams for carving meat from various animals and advice on using seasonable foods are also found in the cookbook, along with menus for daily meals and page references for the recipes. Trapp said the value of the cookbook online “is all over the chart” from $40 to $227. The price at the Fresh Start Benefit sale will be $20. “It’s an interesting read.”

Other items for sale include clothing, small appliances, furniture, vintage and antique items and supply items for pets. Real and fake fur coats, Halloween costumes for children, and a reupholstered Danish modern chair are for sale. A framed picture of actor John Travolta with his handprints on it is priced at $20.

The Fresh Start Benefit sale will be held Sept. 27 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sept. 28 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Cash and credit cards are taken. Donations are welcome until Sept. 18 and can be dropped off at the center’s loading dock Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Donations of personal hygiene and cleaning supplies are always appreciated.

To learn more about Humility Homes & Services or to volunteer, visit

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