After Roberta Terry Knauer retired as a full-time librarian in 2016, she searched the web for volunteer opportunities. She found an organization that helps a group of people she didn’t know existed.
The organization was Family Promise of Bergen County; the people were the county’s homeless working families with children.
Roberta thought she knew homelessness when she saw it – she’d lived in New York City before moving to Glen Rock 28 years ago. But she didn’t see many homeless people in the suburbs. When she discovered Family Promise and learned of the needs it addresses, she was happy to sign on as volunteer manager of its website, bergenfamilypromise.org.
Kate Duggan, executive director of Family Promise, says Roberta’s case is instructive: “It shows you don’t have to make a meatloaf to help the homeless.’’
Whatever the merits of her meatloaf, Roberta is digitally savvy. That was her specialty at the Wyckoff Public Library, where she worked for 10 years and developed the website. Before that, she was a computer programmer for many years.
Working mostly from home, she updates the Family Promise website, posting material such as The Promise and rewording headlines to make them more apt to be recognized by search engines.
Roberta and her husband Richard have two adult children. As a mother, she says, she can identify with the mission of Family Promise: “Not being able to provide a home for your children must be one of the worst things a parent can face.’’