Ben Salem United Church of Christ - Lehighton, PA
Our mission is to help homeless and low-income families achieve sustainable independence. We recognize that poverty is a multifaceted problem that requires a multifaceted response. We respond by integrating educational outreach, smart programming, effective policies, and the hands-on work of thousands of volunteers. We provide food, shelter, and support services for homeless families. We provide advice and advocacy for at-risk families to prevent their becoming homeless. And we educate people about poverty and the means to combat it.
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Family Promise: An Introduction To An Interfaith Hospitality Network
We are just one of many, many Family Promise Networks across the Nation. We are also called an Interfaith Hospitality Network or IHN. This video will show you what we are about. familypromise@gulft...
Family Promise is a nonprofit 501(C)(3), non-denominational organization for families in transition. There are over 176 Networks in 39 states. There are over 5000 congregations and 120,000 volunteers making up these Networks. Additionally there are 53 more Networks developing.
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Family Promise of Carbon County PA
The Family Promise Network Program brings shelter, meals, and support services to families without homes. Family Promise Networks are a cost-efficient, effective, and replicable community response to family homelessness. Because they make use of existing community resources, they can be implemented quickly, without major start-up costs.
There are six basic components to a Network Program.
1. Host/Support Congregations: The hosting of families rotates weekly among the Host Congregations in the Network. In turn, each host congregation provides lodging, three meals a day, and caring hospitality 3-4 times a year. The Support Congregations provide much needed volunteers, supplies, and finances when needed.
2. Day Center: Guests use a local Day Center from 7:30 AM to 5:00 PM, where the Family Promise Network Director, a professional social worker, provides case management services. There, guests pursue employment, tend to pre-school children, shower, and do laundry. The day center provides guests with a mailing address and a base for housing and employment searches. Many guests are employed during the day, while older children attend school.
3. Transportation: The Family Promise Network van transports guests to and from the Day Center. The Network also uses a truck to carry bedding and luggage to the next Host Congregation. The truck is also used to collect any donations made to the Network.
4. Fundraising: The organization is financed through donations, grants and fundraising.
5. Social Service Agencies: Local social service agencies refer families to the Network and may also help guests find or provide housing, jobs, and other needed services.
6. Volunteers: Volunteers are essential to our success and provide a wide range of services like cooking and serving meals, playing with children or helping them with homework, interacting with guests with respect and compassion, and providing overnight security. The Network depends on its success through its volunteers.
TYPICAL HOST WEEK
During the week there are approximately 50 slots for volunteers. Some congregations have a different member for each slot; others have volunteers take on multiple roles. Volunteers come from the host and support congregations and are assigned duties by the Volunteer Coordinators --members of the host congregation who oversee the week.
SUNDAY:
  • A Network truck or van arrives in the afternoon with cots and the families' personal belongings to be set up in a designated space.
  • Guest families arrive at Host congregation Sunday evening. The rooms for the families and the common area have been set up prior to the arrival.
EACH NIGHT OF HOSTING:
  • Families settle in, relax and meet the coordinator and evening volunteers. At 6:00 PM dinner is served family style. Guests and volunteers share the meal together. Families are responsible for their children and help with clean up and chores.
  • After dinner, volunteers fellowship with families. Hosts and their families play games, help with homework, watch videos, or just talk.
  • Food for lunch is available in the kitchen area and parents make sack lunches for their families for the following day.
  • Adults turn in around 10 PM; children at appropriate earlier bedtimes. Wake up is around 6 AM. Two volunteers will spend the night at the congregation.
  • Breakfast is served around 6:30 AM during the week; typically cereal and other convenient foods. The Network van picks the families up at 7 AM.
DURING THE DAY (Families are not at the congregation):
  • The Drives takes guests to the Day Center. From there, children will go to school and the parents to their jobs. In the afternoon the reverse is done.
  • If the parents do not have a job, they work with the Director at the Day center to seek employment, housing and other resources to help them regain their independence. The Day Center has bathrooms with showers and other necessities to prepare for the day.
  • Everyone returns to the Host Congregation around 5:30 PM and the cycle repeats.
SATURDAY:
  • On Saturday the families can sleep in and enjoy a hot breakfast (pancakes or bacon and eggs). Families go back to the Day Center and do what families typically do on weekends -- see friends and relatives, take children to activities, etc.
THE NEXT SUNDAY:
  • On Sunday the families are packed up and out of the facilities prior to Sunday services. They are taken to the Day Center for the day until it is time to move on to the next congregation. Families that want to attend services will usually do so at their own congregations; some may choose to worship at a host congregation.
...........and the next host congregation begins its week.
 
 
 
 
 
Training video
 
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Family Promise
"How Can I Help" Talking with Guests and Volunteers.
 
 
 
 
 
 Did you know that one out of every four people who are homeless is a child? Or, that families with children make up nearly 40% of the people in this country who are homeless? Family homelessness is a national problem. The week of October 22-29, 2017 is Family Promise Week. Our local Affiliate, Family Promise of Carbon County, is one of 206 programs across the country uniting the faith community to help children and their families who are homeless. Family Promise Week will raise awareness about the issue, as well as celebrate the service of our congregation and others to serve our brothers and sisters in need. You can participate in Family Promise Week by signing up to volunteer, telling others about Family Promise, or visiting www.familypromisecarboncounty.org to learn more.


NATIONAL FACTS
 Family Promise was founded in Summit, NJ, in 1988 on the belief that people are compassionate and want to
make a difference. Family Promise has grown into a national non-profit organization, mobilizing communities
and existing resources to help homeless families regain their independence.
 The issue of family homelessness has never been more critical. Last year, there were 3.5 million homeless people
in the United States. Sixty-four percent of U.S. cities turned away homeless families with children because there
was a lack of bed space.
 Homeless families now comprise nearly 40% of the homeless population.
 One out of every 30 American children will experience homelessness this year.
 Family Promise is growing. Established in 1988, we currently operate 206 Affiliates across 43 states.
 Family Promise mobilizes more than 180,000 volunteers and 6,000 congregations across the country.
 Family Promise provided shelter and social services to nearly 70,000 people last year…. nearly 60% of them
children.
 Our Affiliates nationwide have developed more than 1,500 Community Initiatives to empower families and help
them achieve lasting independence, from parenting classes and after-school tutoring to financial literacy and
workforce development programs.
 Family Promise is cost-effective. Because we utilize existing resources, we are able to deliver $3 in goods and
services for every $1 we receive.
 Family Promise works. On average, 74% of our guests secure housing within nine weeks, helping them to achieve
sustainable independence.
 Family Promise is the leading volunteer-driven non-profit providing services to homeless families.
Information Provided by Family Promise Carbon County, September 2017. Reference: www.familypromise.org

 
 
 
  
 
 
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MESSAGE FROM DIRECTOR.........
 
Acknowledging and Recognizing
 
           
 
As the new Director, I want to thank everyone who has volunteered for Family Promise over the last three and a half years.
 
While we are here to assist the parents in job and home searches, we are here for the CHILDREN.  I ask all of you to imagine what these children experience – imagine not having your own bed, no toys, watching your Mom and/or Dad stress and worry over where money will come from, not having food in the house, going to school in the same clothes worn the day before, not getting a bath or shower, not getting hugged or feeling loved.  WE change that!  We give children back their childhood.  Even if it is for a month or three, for that time period in these children’s lives, they knew they were cared for, they had three meals a day, they had a bed to sleep in, clean clothes, and no stress.  We give children a glimpse into normalcy.  We give them hope to break the poverty cycle.  Your meals and volunteer hours add up to so much more than we can comprehend.
 
Since we opened our doors in 2011, we have helped 23 families including 43 children.  In 2013, 78% of families secured employment and 67% secured permanent housing.  I want to keep you all more informed on what happens to the families after they leave the program as we now follow up for a year with them.
 
I invite anyone to call me at the number above or stop in the Day Center Monday through Friday 8-4pm.  I would love to show you the improvements to the house.  Follow us on Facebook, www.facebook.com/FamilyPromiseCarbonCounty, to watch the new and exciting things we are bringing to the program, families, and community.
 
                                                            Sincerely,
 
                                                                        Alicia Kline