BENEFITING: Family Promise Of Cape May County Inc
ORGANIZER: Family Promise Of Cape May County Inc
Family Promise Of Cape May County Inc wrote -
With no family emergency shelter in Cape May County, homeless families remain at the mercy of whatever resources are available at the time - usually isolated placement in motels, or referred to shelters in other counties, both severely disrupting their lives. Because motels have limited cooking, laundry and storage facilities, significant expense and inconvenience is created for the families no matter where they are placed. The children of the targeted homeless families, must survive in physically unhealthy situations, witness drug use and violence, move from place to place and school to school, have few friends and experience academic failure. Without support or intervention, they, like their parents, slowly tend to become psychologically vulnerable, and live with feelings of distrust, fear, and emptiness that tend to follow them into adulthood and throughout the rest of their lives. We believe that it is unacceptable for even one child to be without a home in Cape May County or anywhere in our country. Family Promise of Cape May County consists of 36 congregations, which together, harness the resources of 700 - 800 volunteers. Each participating church or synagogue serves as a host or support congregation for two - four homeless families for a one-week period, four times each year. The Host congregations provide meals and overnight sleeping accommodations seven days a week. The program also consists of Support Congregation that sends volunteers from their House of Worship to the Host Congregation to assist with the overnight accommodations, as well as meals and social time. Guest families spend the day at the Day Center, located in North Cape May, where they care for children and look for jobs and housing. A van owned by the Network transports our guests to the Day Center each morning and back to the host congregation each evening. Local social service agencies refer homeless families to the Network, and work cooperatively to provide day programs, including employment training, furthering education (GED or college), counseling, budgeting, entitlement orientation, child care and health care. A Case Manager and Network Director, both work out of the day center/administrative office. They also promote linkages to other agencies and facilitate volunteer services. The Family Day Center serves as the temporary mailing address, office, and daytime living space for the guest families. The Family Day Center has showers, kitchen, lounge/child play area and access to laundry facilities. School buses pick up school children who continue to attend their regular schools. Parents also go to, or find work from the center. Trained volunteers are at the heart of the program. They operate the program at their congregations and provide personal support for homeless families, who are considered guests of the Network. In this environment, homeless people maintain their dignity and self-respect. The kindness of volunteers and guests grow and learn from each other. Volunteers work in shifts, and stay overnight at the congregation’s facility. By sharing meals and conversation, by interacting with and listening to parents and children, the volunteers come to know the human face of homelessness and learn about its root causes. Volunteers not only work in their congregation’s facility, but also help guests find housing, jobs and job training opportunities. We focus on the religious community because we believe that it has a vital role and responsibility. People of all faith are called to minister to those in need and to see God in all people. It is our belief that helping is not some special skill, but the joyful mandate of a just and loving God.