Family Promise (www.Familypromise.org) is a national faith-based non-profit ministry that supports families who are experiencing homelessness as they search for new jobs, undergo job training, and obtain permanent housing. Family Promise began in New York City in 1986. Their mission is to provide a safe environment in which families can stay together and gain the assistance they need to become self-sufficient.
The Family Promise Vision: A nation in which every family has a home, a livelihood, and the chance to build a better future together
Today, Family Promise has grown to 180 interfaith hospitality networks in 41 states (and counting), helping nearly ½ million children and adults through the support of over 160,000 volunteers. 80% of the families who complete the Family Promise program have secured permanent housing.
St. Norbert Parish began participating in Family Promise, joining the Family Promise Chicago North Shore (www.fpnorthshore.org) hospitality network in 2013. Since its inception in 2010, Family Promise Chicago North Shore, through their network of twenty eight congregations, has helped approximately 35 families find affordable housing, secure employment, learn budgeting skills and utilize community resources.
How Family Promise Works
Family Promise North Shore Chicago, using the resources/volunteers from their network congregations, provides shelter, meals and comprehensive support services for Cook County homeless families. Their strategy is to focus resources on only three to four families (up to 14 people) at a time to increase the chances for a long-term positive outcome. Families participate in the program for approximately 3 months. During this time, the Family Promise North Shore Chicago Director and Social Work Specialists work with parents to help them learn how to manage their finances and create an overall strategy on how to find suitable housing and make it work.
Families spend the day at the Family Promise Day Center in Evanston. Some adults pursue employment, tend pre-school children, shower, and do laundry. Other adults work during the day and older children attend school. The day center provides families with a mailing address and a base for housing and employment searches.
Evenings are spent at host congregations, where volunteers provide home-cooked meals and a safe place to sleep. The volunteers interact with the families – reading to the children, playing games, talking with the parents and other support.
Hosting the families is rotated among the Hosting Congregations in the Family Promise North Shore Chicago Network. Twenty one churches, including St. Norbert Parish, currently serve as Hosts. Another seven churches, Support Congregation, provide assistance and resources for the Host Congregations. Click here to view the current Host and Support Congregations (http://www.fpcnorthshore.org/community-partners.html) in the Church Network.
What does St. Norbert Parish Do and Need?
St. Norbert Parish is a Host Congregation. Our job as a host parish is to provide lodging, meals and hospitality to Family Promise families for two weeks in the summer every year. This requires the help of our generous parishioners.
We setup overnight accommodations in the Junior High Class Rooms, serve meals in Grace Hall and provide kid sports in the gym. All of this is accomplished with our Volunteers! Without Volunteers, Family Promise cannot exist; they are the heart of this Ministry! Beyond providing lodging and meals, volunteers interact with the guests, treating them with respect and responding with compassion.
We need Volunteers to:
- Dinner Hosts: Prepared and cooked meals in your home and bring to Grace Hall. Meals do not need to be elaborate, just simple comfort food that your own family enjoys. Meal preparers serve, eat and interact with the families and clean up after the meal. Click here to see the full Dinner Host Responsibilities.
- Be Overnight Hosts: Interact with the Guests until they retire to their rooms, setup personal overnight accommodations, secure doors at night, setup clean up morning breakfast ensure guests. Click here to see the full Overnight Host Responsibilities.
How to Volunteer
Thank you to all the many volunteers that have given of your time, talent and treasure to the Family Promise Program. If you have not helped with this program, you might consider this ministry. We are so blessed and this program has really made us realize how fortunate we are and how we can help those in need. This is a wonderful ministry to become involved in with a friend, or with your family, either by cooking a meal together or by spending the night as overnight hosts.
Check here early next year for the Host Dates for 2017! We need your help!!!!
BECOME A VOLUNTEER AND “EXPERIENCE MANY MOMENTS OF ORDINARY GOODNESS”
…testimonital from St. Norbert Parish Volunteer, Virginia Bishop.