Even Carolyn Gordon is amazed at how well things run at Family Promise of Northern New Castle County.
The executive director leads the first Delaware affiliate of the national nonprofit, which supports homeless families through a faith-based initiative. Volunteers from 14 host and 10 supporting church congregations take turns providing shelter, meals and services to the homeless in northern New Castle County.
“Our network has over 700 volunteers who want to help people get back on their feet,” Gordon says. “We call it a hand up, not a hand-out.”
Each congregation hosts one week at a time, four times a year. During the day, families stay at the Family Promise Center, which offers laundry and shower facilities as well as help with job leads and counseling.
The families are later transported to a host church, where they enjoy dinner, other activities and spend the night.
“Our niche is we work with families with children,” Gordon says. “It’s already a stressful situation and we don’t want to add the burden of splitting up the family.”
She says about 80 percent of families at Family Promise move on to permanent or transitional housing.
Along with volunteers, the organization takes donations of everything from a car to provide transportation to work, down to rolls of toilet paper.
While a number of denominations are involved, Gordon says religion isn’t pushed. However, participants know that they may attend services or receive more information. (familypromisede.org) —D.O.