Each night in Polk County, hundreds of people are homeless; half of which are children. The impact of losing a home is traumatic, especially for children. The resulting instability creates insecurity, worry, low self-esteem, and difficulty focusing in school and studying.
Family Promise strives to create a safe, stable and nurturing environment for the children and to support the efforts of their parents in securing employment and housing. OLIH is one of 13 area churches who provide shelter and nutritious meals for one week every three months. During our host week, volunteers from the parish create a home-like atmosphere where guests can receive what they need: rest, hope, respect, confidence boosting and a sense of control in their lives. Learn more: Family Promise of Greater Des Moines
A few weeks prior to our host week, we post a volunteer sign-up board in the gathering space. Below are a list of the areas where volunteers are needed:
Dinner Preparers: Dinner is a hot, well-balanced meal, usually prepared at the volunteer’s home. The dinner preparers usually meet in the kitchen and have dinner ready to serve at 6pm. Milk and lemonade/juice are purchased ahead of time by the Family Promise supply coordinators. Cooking dinner is a good opportunity for church groups to get involved in helping. For larger groups, we ask that you try to limit the number of servers/attendees.
Evening Hosts arrive in the kitchen/dining area around 6pm and stay until 8:30pm. Hosts socialize and eat dinner with the guests. Hosts often assist parents with children’s needs. Some activities might include board games, cards, arts/crafts, basketball, etc.
Overnight Hosts: Two hosts, usually one male and one female, spend the night at the church. Overnight hosts are available in case of an emergency. Other responsibilities include turning off lights around 9-10pm, waking guests by 6am. Overnight hosts are asked to stay from 8:30pm-7am.
Breakfast Preparers: Breakfast on Saturday is relaxed since the guests do not leave for the center until 10am. Therefore, breakfast preparers may choose to make something more substantial, such as bacon and eggs, or pancakes.
Laundry: Each host week, one or two volunteers wash and return the guests and overnight hosts` towels and sheets.
Van Drivers: Drivers are needed to transport guests from OLIH to the Family Promise Day Center in Des Moines each morning and then return them to OLIH each evening. The Family Promise program provides a fifteen passenger van for transportation.
Contacts: Rob & Natalie Francis 494-6913
In Addition We Need--
Our parish has participated with Family Promise for several years—providing shelter for needy families, a week at a time, four times a year. To continue doing so, we need an individual/couple/family to step up and help co-ordinate the week while the families are here. Your duties are shared with another couple (Rob & Natalie Francis) and include being available in the evenings or mornings to oversee the process.
To succeed, a coordinator makes sure the volunteers are there to prepare meals, act as hosts for the evening, and spend the night.
Could this be you?
If you have any questions about this ministry, there will be an informational meeting on Monday, March 5 in the Green Room to explain the network of churches that supports this effort to keep families together while they get back on their feet.
Contact Becky for more info, 964-3038.