Family Promise Volunteer Opportunities

Contributed by Kay Lorraine

Aloha friends,

You may have heard me making occasional announcements to our congregation about Family Promise.

Family Promise is a unique program that partners with churches, synagogues, and temples to provide food and safe places to sleep at night to homeless families with children while the family is transitioning into affordable housing.

It’s a national program that has an exceptional rate of success. On average, 74% of the homeless families participating will gain long-term housing while in the program, in nine weeks. Actually, Hawaii’s rate is even better than the national average. This is a program that works!

The core of the program is volunteers from congregations. One week each, four times a year, Temple Emanu-El converts their classrooms into private bedrooms for the families to sleep. Congregation Sof Ma`arav partners with Temple E to provide volunteers for the week.

There are several ways in which volunteers can help.

  1. You can become a dinner provider for one evening. This consists of showing up at Temple E between 5:00 or 5:30, setting up and serving dinner that you have cooked, and then cleaning up afterward. It usually takes about 3 hours total. You provide the food. Lots of people partner up with another family to do this.
  2. You can volunteer to overnight. It means spending the night sleeping in the Weinberg Center on one of our spiffy blow-up mattresses. (No, you do not have to blow up the mattress. It’s “pre-blown” for your convenience.) You wake up at about 6:00 a.m., wake up the families, make a pot of coffee and set out the breakfast goodies. (You do not have to provide the goodies. Everything is already there.) After the families have gone in the morning, you put everything away and lock up the classrooms. Voila! You’re out by 8:00 a.m.
  3. You can volunteer to do the laundry. After the week is finished, you pick up the laundry (sheets & mattress pads – already packed into bags) and take it home. There’s no pressure to do this, since you’ve got several months to get it washed, dried and folded. Then you return it to Temple E at your leisure.

NO NEED TO COMMIT TO ANYTHING UNTIL YOU’VE HAD A CHANCE TO SEE HOW IT WORKS FIRST! Here’s the deal: If you think that you might be interested, come on the night that I am volunteering and see how it works. Join me for dinner (baked salmon) and I’ll show you the classrooms transformed into family bedrooms, as well as where I sleep. You can meet the families and see what is involved with each job.

Please let me know if you would like to have dinner one night during our next rotation (December 17 – 24). Email me or call me at 778-8143. I have been an active part of the Family Promise program since 2006 and I would love to share my enthusiasm with you.

Warmest aloha,
Kay Lorraine
Congregation Sof Ma`arav Family Promise Coordinator