Host congregations are the key component to Family Promise and our ability to serve families. We work with congregations of varying faiths and backgrounds to host up to five families a week, four to five times a year. The congregations provide families with a safe place to sleep, breakfast and dinner, and transportation to and from the Family Promise day center. Air beds and pillows are moved between host congregations on Sunday. Volunteers set up private or semi-private rooms for each guest family and interact with the children and their families throughout the week.
A Typical Host Week
During the week there are approximately 50 slots for volunteers. Some congregations have a different member for each slot; others have volunteers take on multiple roles. Volunteers come from Host and Support Congregations and are assigned duties by the Coordinator, a member of the host congregation who oversees the week.
- A van/trailer arrives in the afternoon with air beds and the families’ personal belongings from the previous Host Congregation to be set up in designated spaces.
- A volunteer arrives at the Day Center to pick up the families and the Family Promise van.
- Guest families arrive at the Host Congregation on Sunday evening between 5:30 and 6 p.m. The rooms for the families and the common area are usually set up prior to their arrival.
Each night of hosting
- Families settle in, relax and meet the coordinators and the evening volunteers. At 6:00pm dinner is served family style. Guests and volunteers share the meal together. Families are responsible for their children and help with clean up and chores.
- After dinner, volunteers spend time with families. Hosts and their families play games, help with homework, watch videos, or whatever.
- Food for lunch is available in the kitchen area and parents make sack lunches for their family for the following day.
- Adults turn in around 10 p.m.; children at appropriate earlier bedtimes. Wake up is at 6 a.m. Two Volunteers will spend the night at the congregation.
- Breakfast is served around 6:15 a.m. during the week; typically cereal and other convenient foods. A volunteer van driver transports the families to the Day Center, leaving the family back at the Day Center by 7 a.m. (Times can vary, depending upon each site’s coordinator, van driver and number of families being housed and time of year.)
During the day (Families are not at the congregation)
- The volunteer van driver takes guests to the Day Center. From there, children go to school and the parents to their jobs. In the evening-(5:00-ish), the volunteer van driver picks up the families from the Day Center and takes them back to the congregation.
- If the parents do not have a job, they work with the staff to seek employment, housing and other resources to help them regain their independence. The Day Center has computers and phones to assist families in their self-sufficiency plan. A play/nap room is also available for the children.
- Everyone returns to the Host Congregation between 5:30 and 6 p.m. for dinner, and the schedule repeats.
- Families can go back to the Day Center or plan another activity on weekends.
- Host Congregations can also choose to keep the families and sometimes offer fun activities for the day.
The next Sunday
- On Sundays, the families pack their belongings and leave the facilities prior to Sunday services. They are transported to the Day Center for the day until it is time to move to the next congregation. Guest families that want to attend services will usually do so at their own congregations; some may choose to worship at a Host Congregation.
Become a Support Congregation –
Do you want to get involved in helping homeless families, but feel your congregation is too small and you don’t have the facilities to house them? Well, there is still a way you can get involved. Become a Support Congregation! Call and speak to our executive director or case manager. We’d love to have you join our team.
Family Promise Support Congregations assist Host Congregations by providing volunteers, meals and other needed help during their host week. This is a great way for your congregation to get involved with Family Promise of Kandiyohi County.