As reported in the January/February newsletter Code Blue is the county’s response to identifying a homeless family or individual who has nowhere to go during extremely cold weather conditions. Bergen County has set aside three apartments for homeless families found in Code Blue conditions and asked if Family Promise would provide back up in the event that more than three families needed shelter at one time. And of course we said yes!
Valley Hospital Outreach Committee provided blankets and sheets to get us ready for a Code Blue. As usual, Family Promise volunteers stepped up in a big way. Thirty-two volunteers signed up to do an overnight shift in the event of a Code Blue.
On February 5, McKinney Vento specialist, Diahann Ruggiero called to report that a family with school-age children had nowhere to go that night. A Code Blue was in effect because the temperatures dipped below freezing. When I called to have the family admitted into one of the apartments, I learned that two were already filled and the third had a plumbing issue. So Family Promise sprung into action and a family of six – mom, dad, and four daughters, ages 6 months to 9 years, spent the night in the church hall of Ridgewood United Methodist Church.
This is a wonderful example of our community’s response to family homelessness. Thanks to all who gave one family safety and warmth on that frigid night and to the many others who have volunteered to do so when needed in the future.