Serving those most in need is deeply engrained in Eve Montavon’s life. After college she lived in a Franciscan lay house community working with runaway and homeless kids.
“Doing this work forever changed my heart and how I lived my faith. It was really humbling and challenging,’’ says Montavon, now a mother of four, parishioner at Church of the Nativity in Burke, and guidance counselor at Saint John Paul the Great High School.
It isn’t surprising that later, when Eve was raising her two sons and two daughters, serving those in need became integral to family life. James, Rachel, Genevieve and Peter spent their growing up years stuffing backpacks for the homeless, giving blood at blood drives, taking brownies to firefighters and writing letters to U.S. soldiers stationed abroad.
After COVID-19 hit Virginia this spring and schools and businesses shut down, Eve and her youngest son Peter, 17, a high school senior, found themselves with time on their hands.
“I was just looking for other ways to serve with my free time,” said Peter, a lacrosse player, golfer and member of the Key Club.
Eve contacted Debra Beard, Catholic Charities Director of Volunteers, looking for suggestions for how they could help. Debra thought the pair would be perfect for delivering diapers to mothers for “Operation Stork,” a short-term crisis response joint project of the Office of Volunteers, Catholic Charities Mercy Van (also known as the Mobile Response Center) and the Diocese of Arlington’s Gabriel Project.
With supplies collected by the Mercy Van and a list of names from Gabriel Project, Catholic Charities volunteers from parishes and community groups delivered critical supplies – like diapers, wipes and other essential baby supplies – to the homes of families who need them. Especially during the spring and summer, when the virus numbers were high throughout the diocese, the delivery project reduced families’ exposure to the virus.
“When critical times arise – like the coronavirus pandemic – having such dependable, trustworthy and passionate volunteers like Peter and Eve enabled Catholic Charities to design innovative solutions to meet the needs of those we serve. Operation Stork was one such solution,” says Beard.
Eve and Peter, who started in the early spring, continued delivering to homes in Alexandria, Arlington, Springfield, Falls Church, Burke, and, occasionally, Manassas, throughout the spring and summer. Along with the diapers and supplies, they added a few special treats of their own: homemade cookies, cereal, small toys and books.
Peter finds himself remembering both happy and difficult situations he witnessed delivering diapers to mothers and grandmothers with small children struggling to navigate multiple challenges: the coronavirus, economic, and, often, language barriers.
“It’s just important,” he says. “You can find a way to give back no matter how hard it is.”
Says volunteer director Debra Beard:
“Peter and Eve demonstrate the remarkable generosity of volunteers. Their faithfulness and their willingness to directly encounter these mothers in need witnesses God’s enduring love and hope.”
October is Respect Life Month. Find out other opportunities for serving moms, babies and families in need under “Give Help” here.