Happy New Year!
As many face 2022 with uncertainty and even dread, I am filled with hope.
Sure, 2021 did not turn out to be the return from COVID that many of us thought it would be but it also brought new partnerships and opportunities to creatively respond to challenges that existed long before the pandemic emerged.
Volunteers who were dedicated to the Network model of sheltering families at their churches and synagogues reluctantly agreed that the model takes a toll on already over-burdened families. Stalled by the pandemic, we have renewed our efforts to locate a single site where families can temporarily live and receive services as they work toward self-sufficiency.
Volunteers from numerous congregations who used to host or support families in the Network program, as well as others, have pivoted to providing, packing, and delivering meals at the Family Promise Walk-in Dinner.
Family Promise significantly expanded its Housing Stabilization Program and provided funding for homeless prevention as well as ongoing rental assistance to hard-working families who were at risk of homelessness.
In Englewood, 12 non-profits worked together under the shared leadership of the Englewood Community Chest and Family Promise to provide nutritious meals to families hard-hit by the pandemic. As Board President, Paul Shackford, often says, “When did you ever hear of 12 organizations working together on ANYTHING?” Partnerships and friendships created through this program continue to improve the lives of residents of the city.
I cannot begin to thank everyone – the staff who worked tirelessly amidst uncertainty, volunteers who put their own safety aside to be of service, and donors who dug deep to ensure our programs were properly funded – who made 2021 truly a memorable year. (How’s that for an understatement?)
My father used to say, “You work until the job is done.” I don’t think that the job of helping our neighbors experiencing homelessness and hunger will ever be done. However, with our team of caring and committed individuals in place, I know that Family Promise will always be here finding ways to address old AND emergent issues that threaten the stability of hard-working families and others in our community.
Wishing everyone a happy, and above all, healthy new year. YOU deserve it!