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“Those of us lucky enough to have known and worked with Nancy can’t help but be inspired and grateful ….”
“Volunteers simply do not get any better than Nancy Woods.”
“Nancy’s passion is to help people help themselves ….”
“She made you want to just keep volunteering and volunteering….”
“She believed in me, supported, encouraged and inspired me. Nancy Wood made a huge impact on my family’s life.”
“She has served as “grandmother” to 415 families in our programs …..”

These are just a few of the accolades from some of the people Nancy Woods has touched and inspired over her 25 years of helping homeless families. Even though Nancy has technically retired from the offices of Family Promise, she is still extremely involved and active as a board member.

Although it would be impossible to capture all that Nancy has done and the hours she has devoted, we wanted to take this time to showcase Nancy’s story and thank her once again for her dedicated service. After reading it, we know it will really inspire you.

Born in New York City, and educated on Long Island, Nancy attended Brown University, married and had 14 children in Demarest. After her husband died she raised her family as a single mother while serving on the Library Board, PTA, St. Joseph’s Church liturgy committee and the Parish Council. She worked in local and county politics, taught Sunday school and served on the Board of Education as President, Vice President and member for 15 years. (Notice the pattern here.)

Always socially conscious, the plight of the poor was close to her heart.

Nancy is one of the founding members of the Interreligious Fellowship for the Homeless of Bergen County (IRF) now known as Family Promise of Bergen County. She helped start Fellowship House, the family shelter at St. Cecelia’s High School in Englewood in 1987. Nancy conceived the idea of a shelter to house families in Bergen County who for some reason had lost their homes and though they were working, were unable to afford a new residence. But Nancy had the foresight to also understand that these families needed not just money, but also direction and support. Not only did she supply families with a place to stay, guidance and lots of love, she did it with compassion, patience, knowledge, understanding and her never ending presence.

Nancy’s passion is to help people help themselves and she does not care who it is- whether it be a single mom, a single dad, a grandparent, whether they are black, white, Asian, Hispanic, gay or straight. People are people to Nancy.

Nancy is probably not the only person in Bergen County who has devoted her whole life to helping people, but she might be one of the few who has done it without ever being paid a single cent. From the shelter in Englewood to the Hackensack Walk-In Dinner Program to her many years with Family Promise Bergen County, Nancy’s commitment to homeless families has always been relentless and has never wavered.

Nancy says it so simply; “I am passionate about my causes. I started off working part-time at the IRF when my youngest was five years old. Little did I know that this would turn into a full-time career 25 years later. It’s rewarding to help people who find themselves in challenging circumstances.”

Nancy, you’re an inspiration to all of us. Thank you!