A Family Promise in Porter County

NWITIMES.com |Annette Arnold | July 15, 2015

Many people think I was born and raised in this growing metropolis that I call my hometown, but in fact I was raised in the little town of Griffith. I was very naïve and sheltered up until I went to Indiana University Northwest.

Once Randy and I moved our little family out to Portage to make a life, I began volunteering to keep my sanity during my stay-at-home-mom days. My life kept me busy but I kept drifting back to the need to help people. I guess all that hands-on-helping in my formative days, courtesy of mom and dad, sunk in somehow and made me a lifelong volunteer.

Once I started working at the Portage Township trustee’s office, I saw firsthand all the need our township has for all types of people. Tragedy can happen anywhere, anytime with anybody.

Did you know that 1.35 million children will be homeless in this country this year? That’s not counting all the homeless parents and other adults because of a multitude of reasons.

About three months ago, my Associate Pastor Deb Rousselle asked me if I would attend a meeting that could help the homeless population in Porter County and I jumped at the chance because there just doesn’t seem to be enough places to put people, especially families, on an emergency basis. Many times families have to split up or are put on a wait list and have to couch-surf until an opening is available.

Family Promise is a national, nonprofit organization that serves children and their families in need. It has been in operation almost 30 years with 192 affiliates in 42 states across this country. Five of those affiliates are right here in Indiana including one in Goshen, Lafayette, Hendricks County and two in Indianapolis.

Family Promise networks with church congregations in the area which enable them to provide 24-hour/7-day-a-week services to the families in the program. It is an Interfaith Hospitality Network. Their goal is to alleviate homelessness by fostering the development of affiliates that provide shelter, meals and assistance for homeless persons, and that increase community involvement in direct service and advocacy.

There are five basic components to Family Promise: host congregations, volunteers, social service agencies, day center and transportation. They enable congregations to unite hearts and hands to provide shelter, meals and compassionate assistance for homeless families. It helps congregations fulfill a biblical, traditional mission to help the least and the lost.

Won’t you come out and help this worthwhile endeavor to help our neighbors get back on their feet with dignity and teach their children that this is what we are commissioned to do?

The next meeting is 6:30 p.m. July 21 at the Real Life Community Church, 3134 Swanson Road.