“Family Promise offers friends, a roof over our head, and they show love, caring, support, and fun.” — Gretchen’s 7-year-old daughter

After Gretchen lost her home, she and her two daughters bounced between family members’ houses and finally ended up in a motel. It was stressful to figure out how to pay for the motel every week, Gretchen said, while trying to make everything seem normal for her kids.

“You won’t want to show the kids that you’re stressing,” she said. “If they sense that you’re stressing or something’s wrong with you, they’re going to worry.”

After three weeks of homelessness, they came to Family Promise, which gave them stability and a much-needed sense of relief.

Thanks to the hospitality provided by our volunteers, Gretchen’s daughters had such a great time at Family Promise that they asked if they could come back! They enjoyed goodies like chocolate-covered strawberries, played activities like musical chairs, and used the computers at our Day Center to complete school projects. Gretchen’s 7-year-old daughter has food allergies, and volunteers prepared special meals and treats for her.

“All of the churches were wonderful and so accommodating,” Gretchen said. “I appreciate that very much.”

They spent the holidays at Family Promise, where they each got presents for Christmas. Her daughters got stuffed animals and Gretchen got pots and pans — “that’s all I wanted,” she said. Volunteers also brought their own families so all the kids could play with each other.

Gretchen’s family bonded with the others in our temporary shelter program. By coincidence, they already knew one of the other mothers, who used to babysit Gretchen’s kids. All of the children in the program became fast friends, and the parents supported each other.

“You’re in close quarters with the other families, so in a sense they become your family,” Gretchen said. “Sometimes you have problems, so you talk to each other, or you find information, so you try to help each other.”

Their case manager at Family Promise, Felicia, connected Gretchen with a landlord, and soon, Gretchen was approved to move into her new apartment. “I was just so happy,” Gretchen said. “Felicia was very helpful.”

Gretchen’s move-in was delayed by a few days because of a January snowstorm. Her kids had fun anyway, building a fort and playing games with the other families in the program. When they moved in, Family Promise provided her with the essentials, like pillows, blankets, and a microwave.

“Family Promise offers you shelter and food. They have the resources for you to find apartments. And they offer friends,” said Gretchen’s 10-year-old daughter. “And once you get your apartment, they offer stuff that you would need on a daily basis.”

Her younger sister added: “Thank you for all the presents and gifts and people who are nice and made some special food.”

They all agreed on the need for Family Promise’s expansion this year. (We’re creating twice the promise this year by opening a second facility that will double our capacity. Read more here.)

“That would be excellent, to help more families. It’ll be a lot less stressful for the parents,” Gretchen said. “It’s an excellent program.”

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