Considering volunteering for Family Promise? Read below regarding one of Kingswood’s own members who “stepped out of her comfort zone” and was truly blessed:
Overnight Hosting for Family Promise – What is it really like?
Since retiring a few years back and traveling a great deal, I haven’t been able to commit to any regular volunteering at Kingswood for quite some time. The occasional nature of Family Promise was a perfect fit for me. Family Promise is held at Kingswood about five times a year, for one week each time. I was curious about the program, and why the church would be willing to take complete strangers in, to live at Kingswood for a week. And I was concerned about my own safety, and about sharing a meal and spending the night with people I didn’t know.
So after checking, here is what I found out: The idea is to help displaced families remain together in a temporary safe environment as they strive to regain what was lost: perhaps a job, and then a home – you know, things we take for granted. Many of them are single moms with young children. Some families are intact with fathers as well. They rotate between several churches on a weekly basis until they are able to take back a normal life. While they are here, their children go to school, and the parents go to work, or look for work, and eventually find a new place to live on their own. Most families are only in the program for a few months.
Once I understood the value of this program, I knew that I was going to be led outside my “comfort zone”. I would give this a try. I volunteered to be an Overnight Host for Family Promise for the first time on Friday, February 6th. . After I had signed up for my first evening, I went over a few days ahead of time and visited while Cindy and Howard were there, just to see the “lay of the land”.
Then on Feb 6th I arrived in time to have dinner with the families….
There were three: a mother with two teenage daughters, a mother with five (ages 3-14) children, and a mother with a toddler. When traveling, have you ever stayed at a Holiday Inn or Comfort Suites? You know the type, where breakfast is included? Well, that is what it was like. The families came in, took their food and ate together as family units. They were all very polite, and the children very well behaved. After dinner, the mothers washed their dishes and wiped down their tables. I put the food away. The family of five stayed in the room and played games (Rev. Brian was there, and played ping pong with the older children), while the others went back to their bedrooms for the evening. By nine o’clock all were getting ready for bed.
That was it! All I needed now was to read a good book, or play on my laptop. I turned out the lights and went to my own bedroom. In the morning I would wake up, have some breakfast (optional), and head for home.
It was that easy! I hosted again on Friday, May 22nd, and invited my married daughter to come with me. This time there were two families, a mom with three young children and another mom with two. I came to see how motivated, and how thankful these families are to have this opportunity available to them. They have set their goals, and are eager to reach them. Of course just knowing that Cindy and Howard Gary were available 24/7 to answer any questions I might have made it all work.
If you’ve been thinking you might like to try Overnight Hosting but have questions, I would recommend that you contact Cindy (678-221-7436 or firstname.lastname@example.org). You can host with a spouse, another church member, or another adult family member.
Helping families stay together during stressful times is a beautiful way to serve. I hope you will consider getting outside your “comfort zone” as I did. You will feel blessed.