I hope everyone was able to rest over the holidays and spent at least some time enjoying family and friends. The Network families were in good hands at Leonia Methodist Church – who have hosted in place of First Presbyterian Church in Englewood ever since the devastating fire. Volunteers, under the watchful eye of Dorothy Vanderwerf, wrapped the families in love over the holiday week. Thanks to our weekend volunteers, the Family Center was available on the holidays while the children were off from school. And, for the third year in a row, Shelley Doherty and Lisa Kenduck led the Walk-In Dinner Program volunteers who served over 180 dinners on Christmas Day!
Looking back, 2016 was a busy year for Family Promise. The organization celebrated two important anniversaries. With its roots in the Interreligious Fellowship for the Homeless, Family Promise of Bergen County celebrated 30 years of helping homeless working families become self-sufficient. And at the Walk-In Dinner Program, Family Promise volunteers served our one millionth meal after 25 years of providing dinner to the homeless.
None of this would be possible without the support of our dedicated volunteers and generous donors who understand that we are providing families with the tools needed for a better life.
But there is so much more to do. Rents are high and going up and competition for those units is fierce. Today, we must rededicate ourselves to helping homeless working families overcome the obstacles to self-sufficiency. One of those barriers – lack of work experience – is an area I plan to focus on in 2017. I need your help in identifying internships that will help our families develop their resumes and add new skill sets. If you own or work for a company that could help a homeless parent with children and are interested in learning more, please call me directly. Together we can make HUGE strides on the jobs front in 2017.
A special thank you for all you did in support of homeless working families in 2016. Let’s work to change more lives in 2017!
Wishing you a New Year filled with peace and joy.