Family Promise is a wonderful, interdenominational service program that provides shelter to working homeless
families. Sof Ma’arav volunteers are partnering with their counterparts at Temple Emanu-El to provide meals and overnight shelter for the program participants for approximately one week each quarter.
Sof Ma’arav volunteers typically volunteer for two nights a week, with different teams for each night. Usually, two volunteers cook the evening meal, deliver it to the shul and serve it to the families. The other two volunteers stay on premises and sleep overnight on cots at the facility. These volunteers wake the families, set up breakfast, clean up and secure the building after the van arrives to take the families to their jobs and daytime shelter.
I want to encourage more Sof Ma’arav members to volunteer for this worthwhile and gratifying program. Initially, I had some unfounded fears about working with the homeless. To my pleasant surprise, these are nice, hard working families that are temporarily down on their luck. They are friendly, courteous and easy to talk to. Their children are loved, well cared for and well behaved. Most of them are Micronesian islanders or local Hawaiians.
Over the past year, I have enjoyed participating in this program. It is a mitzvah where you are up close and personal to the action. It is gratifying because you immediately see the results of your good work. However, it’s the same volunteers who show up each time. I hope to share this positive experience with more of you.
If you are interested in volunteering or want more information, please speak to me, or Kaye Lorraine in shul.