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At this time of the year, it’s right to spend time to reflect on all we have, and how we have used those resources to help others.  With Thanksgiving soon to come, I want to talk about just some of what has affected me this year.

We have accomplished a lot this year in our programs to provide shelter and support.  We know that is far more effective to keep a family housed than to have to react after they have lost their housing.  So, the focus of our Housing Stabilization Program, which has been greatly expanded this year, is to do just that.  We have worked closely with families to keep them housed, by providing funds to pay back rent, helping with limited monthly financial assistance to keep a family in their current apartment, and to assist with down payments so that a family can access an affordable apartment.

In one case this year, we provided $3,100 of financial assistance and, with that minimal help, we were able to keep a family of seven from becoming homeless.

Working with our family case managers, and with our assistance in paying rent, one mom was able to save a significant amount of money.  In fact, she worked with a real estate agent who helped her find, not an apartment, but a home!

All of the families that we help also participate and reap the benefits of our holistic approach to addressing their needs.  They participate in a savings program (and Family Promise matches a portion of their savings);  attend financial and empowerment workshops;  and meet regularly with our case managers to address and find solutions to address their particular needs.  As a result, our families successfully move to stabilized housing without the need for ongoing financial support.

At our Walk-In Dinner Program, we are on target to serve a record 53,000 meals this year.  If the trend of the number of meals continues to increase  as it has over the past months, we could reach 60,000 meals in 2023!

In our sheltering programs, we mostly serve single moms with children.  And in our WID dinner program, we used to serve only adults needing food.  We used to serve 80 meals a night – we now serve up to 200 a night.  And nearly half of the meals we serve are given to families.

One young man drives his mom and dad to pick up meals.  He has a job and recently achieved his Master’s Degree and is looking to begin his career.  Yet he is responsible for feeding his elderly parents.  While you wouldn’t know it to look at him, he and his family are food insecure and need our help.  There are many more families out there like that.

One man told me last month:  “If it weren’t for you, I would have starved to death months ago.  This is the only meal I have each day.”

So, what will I think about this Thanksgiving?

I will think about these people that I have met over the years.  And the support many of you have provided in so many ways – of time, talent, and treasure – that Family Promise is blessed to receive.

And I’ll remember and be thankful for how Allan Smith affected moms and children and volunteers, and me.  May he rest in peace as a saint in heaven.

Thanks to all of you.  Please spend a moment reflecting on your memories during this season.  I would think that many of them will be some of your most treasured moments.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and holiday season.

Paul Shackford
President of the Board of Trustees