Gwinnett County communities of faith are essential Family Promise partners. Each one opens its facility to up to four families three or four times a year.
Volunteers serve dinner in their congregation’s facilities and provide items for families to make breakfast and sack lunches for the next day. Of course the congregations are also a safe place for families to sleep, and volunteers offer encouragement and fellowship to the families.
We provide portable beds, and each family member receives a new pillow on their first day in Family Promise. Most congregations use these items to convert classroom space into private rooms for each family, like the photo here. We also provide transportation for families who do not have vehicles. Families move between congregations each Sunday.
Each week offers up to 50 opportunities for volunteers. Congregations have a coordinator’s team to oversee the volunteers. In some cases two congregations (a host and a support) partner together to serve our families. We train the congregation’s volunteers and offer additional training and support for each congregation’s coordinators.
A typical schedule for volunteers is:
Sunday at the beginning of the hosting week
- Unload truck which arrives in the afternoon with beds and the families’ personal belongings
- Convert classrooms into a family’s home for the week
- Families arrive between 5:30 and 6 p.m. for orientation
- Dinner is served around 6:00 p.m. Families and volunteers share the meal. Families are responsible for serving their children.
- After dinner parents can make lunches for their family for the next day.
- Volunteers may spend the evening with families (7 to 9 p.m.)
- Two volunteers spend the night in a private room at the host congregation
- Families are in their rooms and quite by 10 p.m.; they usually wake up about 6 a.m.
- A grab-and-go breakfast is available by 6 a.m.
- Families are out of the facility by 7 a.m.
- Guests do not stay at the congregation’s facility during the day. Adults go to work, children go to school, and others go to the Day Center.
- At the Day Center, guests use the resource center to seek employment and housing, take showers and do laundry.
- Families return to host congregations between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.
- Families may stay at the church, go to work or visit friends and relatives and do what families typically do on weekends. Host congregations can also coordinate activities with the families.
Sunday at the end of the hosting week
- Families pack and leave the congregation between 7 and 8 a.m. They either go to the Day Center until it is time to move to the next congregation, or they are on their own if they have a personal vehicle. Families who want to attend services usually go to their own places of worship; some may choose to worship with a host congregation.
For more information on how your congregation could get involved, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.