Hosting families speaks to the scripture of all faiths and provides families who have lost their homes with safe, secure lodging and a sense of community. It gives volunteers the opportunity to provide hands-on outreach in their own congregational facility. The following are the basic elements needed for a congregation to be a host for Family Promise:
- Space for up to a maximum of 4 families, 14-18 individuals total, that will stay for one week at a time, once every 3 or 4 months. The space used can be classrooms, offices or a large hall with dividers. Since a host congregation is providing hospitality to families for the week, the guest areas do not have to be broken down during the day. (Usually, congregations host 3 or 4 families at a time.)
- A single communal area for meals, homework, relaxation and fellowship.
- Two bathrooms: one for females; one for males. (The day center provides showers.) Showers at congregations are rare but welcome.
- Space for volunteers to sleepover (any available space at the congregation can be used, e.g. offices, hallway, etc.).
- A kitchen for meal preparation (dinners may be cooked at the congregation or brought in and heated there), a refrigerator, food staples and necessary clean up items.
- The congregation is responsible for all meals (nutritious cooked dinners, as well as breakfast and lunches supply for the day center). Congregation also supply linen and various basic items such as toys, soap, etc. Family Promise will provide air mattresses.
- Volunteers: A congregation should always have at least 2 volunteers present and generally not more than 4 at a time. Volunteers can come from other congregations and organizations; all volunteers must go through training and sign a code of conduct before they begin.
It Takes a Village…..
by Janey Parks, Family Promise Host Coordinator at Mission del Sol Presbyterian Church, Tempe
What’s involved in hosting the families from the emergency shelter program at Family Promise? Well, it takes a village – or in our case, a congregation.